The UK's largest mail order and online wine merchant has launched a natural cork recycling scheme in its stores.

Laithwaites has installed cork recycling bins in its 10 UK stores, in partnership with cork giant Amorim.

Chairman Tony Laithwaite said: "Roughly 1.7m cork-closed bottles of wine are sold through our shops each year, so there's huge potential to recycle. We've had a great response from customers since we started the cork recycling initiative."

Collected used corks will be granulated and used on the company's vineyard in Theale, near Reading, or donated to local schools to make corkboards for charity.

High street retailer Oddbins launched the first UK cork recycling scheme in conjunction with Supremecorq in 2002, but this was discontinued a year later. Oddbins told just-drinks today (5 August) it may look at both synthetic and natural cork recycling projects again in the future.