Walkers is launching the first nationwide recycling scheme for crisp packets. Working with recyclers, TerraCycle, the scheme will tap into an established network of recycling collection points around the UK. The scheme is simple and free to use, all brands of crisp packets will be accepted and will ultimately be turned into other basic plastic items.

Consumers are being told to take their empty crisp packets to their nearest recycling drop-off point, which can be found at walkers.co.uk/recycle - there are apparently hundreds across the UK; or download a label from the TerraCycle website and arrange to have the packets collected from home, by courier, free of charge.

The packets will then be sent to TerraCycle who will clean them and shred them ready to be made into small plastic pellets, which will be used to make everyday items such as outdoor furniture, trays, and even roofing and flooring.

To encourage collection and return of the packets for recycling, the scheme offers charity points based on the number of bags collected. People are encouraged to collect as many packs as they can in one go and then send in larger batches.

Walkers brand ambassador, Gary Lineker is supporting the scheme and has voiced an online film explaining how it works, available at walkers.co.uk/recycle. The scheme will also be promoted on Walkers crisp packets from January and to the TerraCycle recycling network from today.

Michael Gove, environment secretary, said: “As the custodians of our planet, we must take action now to protect our oceans and wildlife from single-use plastic pollution. Walkers are setting a fine example with this new scheme, and I want to see other companies step up, follow suit and reduce their environmental impact.

“Through our 25 Year Environment Plan we have committed to eliminating avoidable plastic waste, and we will continue to take decisive action to protect our precious environment.”

Gary Lineker, Walkers’ brand ambassador, said: “I love this initiative, what a great way of sorting out the problem of crisp packet recycling. To make this work we really need everyone to get involved by collecting and returning the packets to be recycled.”

Ian Ellington, general manager of PepsiCo UK, the parent company of Walkers crisps, said: “This is another important step towards our ambition to make all of our packaging 100% recyclable, compostable or biodegradable by 2025. This is the first crisp packet recycling scheme in the UK and it will only work if everyone gets collecting and sending in, which is why we’ve made the scheme as simple as possible and free.”

He said Crisp packets are technically recyclable, the issue until now has been that they weren’t being separated or collected for recycling. Walkers’ investment is making this possible for the first time.