Chip packets crisp new start

BASE crew, from left, Camilla Roche, Jenny Rae and Jorja Davis are looking for large empty foil chip packets to help youth with their Chip Packet Project NZ works.

A new volunteering project recycling foil chip packets into survival blankets is being carried out by youth at BASE, in Ashburton.

BASE’s involvement with The Chip Packet Project NZ, announced ahead of Youth Week (May 7 to 15), takes empty foil chip packets out of the landfill and gives them a social use in the community.

A chip packet takes 80 years to decompose.

Empty packets, once washed and prepared, are remade into survival blankets for the homeless, BASE co-ordinator Jenny Rae said.

It was a new, but worthwhile initiative for the youth of the centre.

There is a nationwide goal to make 30,000 blankets a year; 44 chip packets make up one blanket.

Blankets are usually used in the area where they are collected, but in Mid Canterbury some will be sent away while others will be given to foodbanks for distribution.

Now BASE youth volunteers just need empty foil chip packets, either cleaned or not.

We are looking forward to getting chip packets so we can support a good cause, she said.

Packets can be dropped off at BASE, located at 193 Burnett Street in Ashburton, on weekdays between 3pm and 5pm, or posted through the centre’s post slot in the front door.

The Chip Packet Project has been operating in the UK since 2019, but a New Zealand arm was launched during lockdown 2021.

The foil bags are opened flat and then rinsed in soapy warm water before leaving them to dry.

They are then sealed together with the heat from an iron, protected by baking paper.

Youth volunteer role

Also during youth week applications have opened seeking Year 12 youth members for the board of Volunteering Mid and South Canterbury.

It’s a great way to gain experience and also to help younger people who volunteer. Application forms are available from and close on May 31.