Deposit Return Scheme
Drinks containers such as glass, plastic bottles and aluminium cans are a blight on our beaches. Data from the Great British Beach Clean 2019 shows a worrying increase in drinks containers of all forms littering the UK’s coastline. Over the last 26 years, since the Great British Beach Clean began in 1994, data collected by MCS has shown a 32% increase in beverage containers across the UK.
WHAT IS DRS?
For every drinks container you buy, you’d pay a small deposit. Then, when you return the drinks container to a collection point - such as the retailer or supermarket- you would get this money back…Simple!
Such schemes can reduce littering, increase high quality recycling and reduce costs for local authorities. Like the carrier bag charge, it’s a simple idea with an immediate effect.
DRS are already in place in countries and states around the world. In South Australia which has a DRS, only 2.9% of litter is beverage containers, whilst in Western Australia with no DRS, drinks containers make up 13% of litter.
WHAT’S HAPPENED SO FAR?
- Following the successful Have You Got The Bottle? Campaign, of which MCS is a founding partner, the Scottish Government has committed to a DRS which would include metal cans as well as plastic and glass bottles with a planned start date of April 2021. We urge the Scottish Government to ensure the system is all-inclusive to reduce not just single-use plastic, but glass bottles and cans from Scottish beaches
- Our campaign in early 2019, Bottles for Change, gathered more than 25,000 signatures in support of an all-inclusive DRS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The consultation by the UK Government received over 208,000 responses and Michael Gove, then Secretary of State for the Environment, announced his support for an all-inclusive DRS in England and Wales, subject to further evidence and analysis on the scheme’s merits
- But, despite the public show of support for DRS and for it to include all sizes and materials, as we head into 2020 it looks likely there will be a second consultation for England, Wales and Northern Ireland
WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN
- The Scottish Government’s commitment to designing the UK’s first Deposit Return Scheme needs to be actualised, the implementation of which must be ambitious, with the aim of meeting the proposed April 2021 launch date. The design must adhere to the commitment for the scheme to be all-inclusive, accounting for drinks containers up to three litres in size, as well as including glass
- The UK Government must put the wheels in motion for a second consultation for England, Wales and NI on DRS and bring forward an implementation date to reduce the number of drinks containers we’re seeing on our beaches
- As well as reducing single use plastic through an Extended Producer Responsibility bill, the Welsh Government must prioritise DRS. As our data has illustrated, we need to do everything we can to get all types and sizes of drinks containers off of our beaches, and we believe DRS is the most effective way of doing this.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Stand by! Keep up to date with DRS progress by signing up to our e-newsletter
For updates on Scotland’s progress, follow the Have You Got The Bottle? Campaign, of which MCS is a founding member.
Read the eunomia report on DRS
Actions you can take
- Survey showing public support
- Join the Plastic Challenge
- See our map of reported bottle sightings
- Report your #wildbottlesighting using our form
- Take your own reusable bottle out and about
Did you know?…
Over time, one plastic bottle bobbing along in the ocean can break down in to hundreds of tiny plastic pieces