Wales could have Deposit Return Scheme by 2018

By: Clare Fischer
Date posted: 28 September 2017

Wales Environment Minister tells Sky News that a deposit return scheme for the country, and a groundbreaking “plastic tax” on producers could be introduced “as early as next year”.

© Natasha Ewins

Wales Environment Minister, Lesley Griffiths AM, made the announcement to Sky News, saying: “We need to make sure that producers look at what they’re producing, and if we need to tax, that’s one thing we’re looking at because we have those powers in Wales.”

She added that a deposit return system is also under consideration, but said that she needed to make sure there are no ‘unintended consequences’.

If the proposals get the go-ahead, Lesley Griffiths indicated that they may be operational as early as 2018 or 2019.

MCS has been working with the ‘Have You Got The Bottle?’ coalition in Scotland, where the devolved Government there has already committed to a bottle deposit return scheme. If a similar scheme were introduced in Wales, it would put pressure on England to follow suit.

Deposit return systems mean consumers pay a bit more when they purchase a single use drinks bottle but they get the ‘deposit’ back when they return the empty container.

MCS Head of Conservation Wales, Gill Bell, says there is widespread support for such a scheme in the country: “There’s already cross party support for this in Wales, so we would urge Welsh Government to push forward with a deposit return system as soon as possible. MCS has already given evidence twice to the Assembly on this issue, and would be happy to provide further support to help make this happen in Wales. Given the support of people in Wales for the carrier bag charge and other recycling, this would be welcome to help further reduce waste and littering generally and in our seas and around our fabulous coastline too.”

In 2015, 103 plastic bottles were found for every km of Welsh beach cleaned during the MCS Great British Beach Clean - that was higher than the UK average.

Currently DRS schemes run successfully in Germany, Denmark, and some states in Australia and the USA. Studies have shown that a scheme can reduce the amount of littered drink containers, lead to more recycling and contribute to a circular economy, where products are made to be used again.

Sky has been running a campaign to make people more aware of the effect plastic has on the world’s oceans and to share ways of tackling the problem - Sky Ocean Rescue

Actions you can take

  1. Learn about Deposit Return Systems
  2. See our map of reported bottle sightings
  3. Survey showing public support
  4. Join a beach clean
  5. Join the Plastic Challenge
  6. Take your own reusable bottle out and about
  7. Discover more about MCS in Wales
  8. Download the Great British Beach Clean Report 2019
  9. Report your #wildbottlesighting using our form

Did you know?…

Over time, one plastic bottle bobbing along in the ocean can break down in to hundreds of tiny plastic pieces

MCS launched its Beachwatch programme in 1994

Since the carrier bag charge came in across the UK, the Great British Beach Clean has recorded almost 50% fewer bags on beaches