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Belfast Met Contributes to Crisp Packet Project to Help Homeless


Published: 28 January 2022

Heather Houston, lecturer in Enterprise and Business Services, has been working on a new extra-curricular community project that recycles crisp packets that are being made into blankets for the homeless. The project that ran throughout December is an excellent example of how the College works with the community and supports sustainability.

The Crisp Packet Project was established in England in 2019 and local interior designer Andrea Graham from Bangor decided to help the homeless and the environment by making and distributing the survival blankets.

Heather set to support the Crisp Packet Project and worked with Belfast Met Estates Department to have crisp packet bins set up across the campuses which staff and students have been contributing to over the past couple of months.

Every 150 crisp packets collected make one waterproof survival blanket that can cover a sleeping bag to prevent it getting wet. The blankets keep in the heat which is very much needed at this time of year by people living on the streets. The foil lining on the survival blankets reflects body heat to keep the user warm and are also windproof.

Each survival blanket is made using materials that would have gone to landfill, and as each crisp packet is believed to take up to 80 years to decompose this initiative provides an alternative to throwing them away and gives a helping hand to the less fortunate. The packets will be fused together with an iron using greaseproof paper and then overlayed and bonded together. After that they are coated in plastic that you get from any store such as plastic wrap which is added to the top to make it waterproof.

Iris Brown, Curriculum Area Manager, Leadership & Management, commented:” This was such a good project for us to support not only from a sustainability aspect but also to let our learners see what a positive impact they can make through the simple collection and recycling of crisp packets. We are delighted to have collected 450 crisp packets over a 2 week period equating to 3 blankets for the homeless and so hope this is a project we can continue to support on an ongoing basis.”

Heather Houston, added: “I heard about the Crisp Packet Project through Andrea who is using her talents to turn used crisp bags into survival blankets. It’s hard to believe that a discarded bag of crisps can help the homeless and the environment. I’d like to thank the Belfast Met students and staff who discarded their empty crisp packets into the labelled bins around our campuses. We collected 450 crisp packets and it is now my task cut them open, pop them in the washing machine and get them dropped off to Andrea!”

Staff and students can keep on recycling their empty crisp packets and other items that don’t go into the blue bin at your nearest TerraCycle collection point

For anyone that would like to have a go at making a blanket, instructions can be found on

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