Recycle for Scotland

What to do with crisp packets?

11 JUN 21 | 1 minute read

A lunchbox staple, the humble crisp packet has had its fair share of press in recent times when people started posting their empties back to the manufacturer in protest that they weren’t easy to recycle. 

Even though this launched the set up of collection points for crisp packet recycling, most still end up in landfill rather than going to one of Terracycle’s 1,600 drop off locations. You can help change this.

Household recycling collection

not currently recycled

Once you’ve polished off your favourite potato-based snack, the packets can’t be recycled at home. Although the inside of the packet is shiny and looks like foil, it is in fact a metallised plastic film. This type of material is not currently picked up through household collections but that doesn’t mean they need to go to landfill. Curious? Scroll down to ‘other recycling’ to find out more.

Household waste recycling centre (HWRC)

not currently recycled

Crisp packets can’t be recycled at household waste and recycling centres.

Other recycling collections

Recycling facilities exist

Crisp packets can be recycled via Terracycle’s Crisp Packet Recycling Scheme, with public drop-off points within four miles of 80% of households in the UK. Any brand of crisp packet can be recycled, but popcorn bags, crisp tubes, pretzel bags or meat snack bags can’t. Find your local drop-off here

Do the scrunch test!

An easy way to find out if an item is foil or metallised plastic film, is to do the scrunch test. Simply scrunch the item in your hand - if it remains 'scrunched' it is foil and can be recycled easily if it springs back (like crisp packets) it is probably metallised plastic film.

What can you do?

  1. Look for your nearest Terracycle collection point for crisp packets.

  2. Put a box or bag in your kitchen so that you can collect your used packets and aren’t tempted to chuck them in the bin.

  3. Try making homemade crisps instead to avoid packaging altogether, you could even try with different veg like this recipe.

Recycling is constantly evolving and changing so check back for updates or try our recycling locator to find out what you can recycle at home and where you can recycle or pass on unwanted items in your local area.