Beach litter at Crantock beach Cornwall Natasha Ewins

More delays on Deposit Return Scheme: we need your support

2 minute read

Victoria Riglen, Head of Communications and Campaigns

27 Apr 2021

In 2018 an amazing 25,000 people signed our petition in support of a Deposit Return Scheme which included plastics bottles, cans and glass. Three years later and the government has launched a second consultation into a proposed Deposit Return Scheme.

We need your help to once again show the government that there is huge support for a Deposit Return Scheme which would stop bottles and cans ending up on our beaches and in the ocean. The proposed launch for the scheme is now 2024, seven years after it was first announced. We want to see the government taking faster action – and your help it vital.



of inland cleans found drinks-related litter in 2021

The current consultation on a Deposit Return Scheme for England, Wales and Northern Ireland presents a great opportunity to get involved and make your opinions heard. This stage isn’t just for businesses and experts, but for anyone who might use the system and thinks it could work better.

A Deposit Return Scheme would involve customers paying a small deposit on top of the price of their drink. When finished, the drinks container would be returned to a collection point, in a supermarket or shop for example, where the deposit could be collected. This sort of system would reduce littering and also encourage others to pick up drinks litter they come across, to redeem the deposit. It’s a simple idea that would have an immediate impact. 

Drinks containers have been a constant presence on UK beaches we started our beach clean surveys in 1994. Over the last five years, an average of 45 drinks containers were found on every 100m of UK beach surveyed and cleared by our volunteers.

What can I do?

This consultation is where you come in! We’ve been working with other environmental organisations to outline the main things we’d like to see in a Deposit Return Scheme. To make it easier for you, we’ve written up a 5 and 15 minute response to the consultation which addresses the main questions it seeks to answer.

You can find the 5 minute response here.

And the 15 minute response here.

Even better, if you feel strongly about certain parts of the scheme, then writing from your own perspective is a huge bonus, really showing how the Deposit Return Scheme would impact you for the better.

Once you're ready, head to the Deposit Return Scheme consultation

What happens next?

Dr Laura Foster, Head of Clean Seas: “The more of you that show your support for a Deposit Return Scheme that includes all sizes of containers and includes plastic, metal and glass, the better! If we can show the government that lots of us want the same thing – a Deposit Return Scheme which includes all drinks containers – then we have more of a chance of shaping a scheme which will have a really positive impact on our environment.”

Beer bottle litter on Crantock beach Cornwall Natasha Ewins

Credit: Natasha Ewins

We’ll be sure to keep you updated on the progress of the Deposit Return Scheme, thanks for your help!

Make a donation to support our work

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