Final countdown to Scottish deposit return scheme begins
3 minute read
This morning, the Marine Conservation Society were part of an event which saw 1,085 cans and bottles brought to the Scottish Parliament to mark the one-year countdown to the launch of Scotland's deposit return scheme.
The number of cans and bottles, 1,085, is the amount of litter the system will eliminate every day, per Member of the Scottish Parliament, once it comes into effect next year on July 1, 2022.
As one of the founding members of the campaign we joined the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland, which set up the Have You Got The Bottle? campaign in 2015, outside Parliament with some of our amazing Sea Champion volunteers.
Scotland is the first nation in the UK to commit to a deposit return scheme. Initially announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in 2017, it was originally intended for launch in April this year, but ministers decided to delay by 15 months to make sure businesses were ready for the change.
Watch our video below as Scotland Conservation Officer Catherine Gemmell explains why this is such an important date to mark for the health of our seas.
The Marine Conservation Society joined the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland to mark the milestone outside Scottish Parliament
Calum Duncan, Head of Conservation Scotland at the Marine Conservation Society, said: “Our volunteers pick up thousands of bottles and cans across Scotland's beaches every year. Whether glass, plastic or metal, drinks litter negatively impacts wildlife, business and everyone’s enjoyment of our stunning coastline, so we’re delighted to be on the final countdown to the solution to this problem.
"Scotland is leading the way in the UK with a deposit return system which the public will start using this time next year. We expect to see a drastic drop in the amount of bottles and cans we’re finding on Scottish beaches from next year as more people return their drinks containers to be recycled and claim the 20p deposit back. We hope England, Wales and Northern Ireland follow suit, making strides to stop the flow of pollution into our seas.
We expect to see a drastic drop in the amount of bottles and cans we’re finding on Scottish beaches from next yearCalum Duncan, Head of Conservation at the Marine Conservation Society
"The wait is nearly over to see these bottles and cans disappearing from Scotland's shores. We look forward to seeing what the Scottish Government does next to help save our seas.”
Credit: Natasha Ewins
How will it work?
The scheme will include PET plastic bottles, glass bottles and steel/aluminium drinks cans. As of July next year, consumers will pay a 20p deposit on top of the price of a drink, which is then refunded when the bottle or can is returned for recycling. The Scottish Government aims to have a 90% return rate within the first three years, making a huge difference to the amount of litter ending up in our seas.
John Mayhew, Director of APRS, which is running the Have You Got The Bottle? campaign, said: "It's wonderful to know it's finally just a year to go until deposit return on cans and bottles across Scotland comes into effect. MSPs across Parliament should be very proud of the work they did in getting us to this stage, and we know the public are right behind it too. Going by our experiences visiting places that have deposit return, like Estonia and Norway, people across Scotland will very quickly find that littered drinks cans and bottles have become a thing of the past.
The 1,085 cans and bottles we have with us today are not litter – they are resources, ready to be recycled and used againJohn Mayhew, Director of APRS
"These bags represent the litter that will be avoided every day per MSP once the system starts, their share of the estimated 140,000 cans and bottles littered unnecessarily across Scotland each day. The 1,085 cans and bottles we have with us today are not litter – they are resources, ready to be recycled and used again, and that will be the destiny of millions of more empties from this time next year.
"I personally will be waiting for the shops to open on day one, July 1st 2022, with a huge smile on my face, ready to buy a drink, drink it on the spot and immediately return it. It's been a long time coming, and it'll all be worth it!"