Scotland announces all-in DRS as MCS urges Gove and Welsh Government to follow suit
Environmental campaigners, including MCS, have today welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement of the scope of Scotland’s deposit return system (DRS). Ministers have confirmed that glass, cans and some plastic containers will be covered, but other plastics and materials such as tetrapaks and pouches are not to be included initially. The deposit will be set at 20p for all containers, and retailers of all sizes will be paid by the system to accept returns.
Scotland is now ahead of the game and and the rest of the UK must follow to ensure we have the best systems in place across these islands to increase recycling and help reduce the tide of glass and plastic bottles and cans blighting our shoresCalum Duncan,
MCS Head of Conservation, Scotland
Calum Duncan, MCS Head of Conservation Scotland said: “Our beach litter data highlights a shocking amount of glass items found on Scotland’s beaches, an average of 78 pieces for every 100m of beach surveyed during the Great British Beach Clean 2018. We are very pleased with today’s announcement that the system will include glass, along with some plastics and aluminium, and all sizes of those drinks containers.
“Scotland is now ahead of the game and and the rest of the UK must follow to ensure we have the best systems in place across these islands to increase recycling and help reduce the tide of glass and plastic bottles and cans blighting our shores.”
MCS CEO, Sandy Luk, has now urged Michael Gove to follow the example set by Scotland today in designing an ambitious all-inclusive money-back recycling system for bottles and cans. “The rest of the UK must follow the Scottish Government’s lead to ensure we have the best systems in place across the UK. We need to have compatible schemes so that there is no confusion among consumers and so that we can increase recycling and help reduce the tide of glass and plastic bottles and cans blighting our shores and seas.”
MCS has also warned Welsh Local Authorities and elements within the Welsh Government that they will be failing young people if they refuse to back a similar scheme. MCS Head of Conservation in Wales, Gill Bell, says there is a growing resistance among Local Authorities in Wales and some quarters within the Welsh Government to plans for a DRS.
“We believe that Local Authorities in Wales are putting growing pressure on Ministers to reject a Deposit Return Scheme, and that they are focussing on their own self-interests before the rights of future, younger generations,” says Gill Bell. “It has been shown elsewhere that Local Authorities, as a whole, benefit financially and make savings from DRS. Vested interests must not be put ahead of the wellbeing of future generations, by failing to back a comprehensive DRS, when it is highly likely to be introduced across the rest of the UK.
“Welsh Ministers have a duty to be globally responsible and they should support a UK-wide scheme. The concerns of Local Authorities should be addressed. However local government and Welsh Ministers should listen to the Welsh public, the people they serve, who are supportive of DRS.”
Jenni Hume, Campaign Manager for the Have You Got The Bottle? campaign in Scotland, said: “The deposit system set out today is a major step in the right direction, setting the pace for the rest of the UK, and it will have a substantial positive impact on litter and recycling. It’s great news that the Scottish Government are ready for the system to expand in future to include more drinks containers, which will be both more effective and easier for the public to use.
“Now we know how the system will work initially, the key will be to persuade the rest of the UK to adopt the Scottish model. It is in the interests of the environment, the public and business for the other administrations to adopt an approach that is just as inclusive.”
MCS is urging members of the public to take part in the UK Government’s consultation before it closes on May 13th, via a pre-filled form on the BottlesforChange.uk website or the Welsh language page – it takes just two minutes.
Actions you can take
- Survey showing public support
- See our map of reported bottle sightings
- Take your own reusable bottle out and about
- Report your #wildbottlesighting using our form
- Join the Plastic Challenge
- Learn about Deposit Return Systems
Did you know?…
Over time, one plastic bottle bobbing along in the ocean can break down in to hundreds of tiny plastic pieces