Deposit returns will cut #wildbottlesightings

By: Clare Fischer
Date posted: 31 January 2018

MCS has handed over a report to Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, highlighting the extent of the problem of drinks bottle and can littering across Scotland.

Campaigns like this clearly show the need to take action on plastics and it’s fantastic to see Our Lady’s Primary School get behind such an initiative. I want to congratulate each and every one of the young people who have taken part and, of course, their parents and teachers too.

Roseanna Cunningham,
MSP and Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform

MCS launched its #wildbottlesighting project in September 2016 and in that time over 6000 reports of drinks bottles and cans littered all over Scotland’s rural, urban and coastal landscapes have been reported to MCS by members of the public, including almost 3,000 plastic bottles, over 2,000 metal cans and over 1,000 glass bottles.

The Cabinet Secretary was attending a litter themed event at Our lady’s RC primary school in Perth along with Catherine Gemmell and Tara Proud from MCS.

“We need to stop the tide of plastic entering our oceans. We’re delighted that the Scottish Government will be leading the way and introducing a deposit return system for drinks cans and bottles in Scotland,” said Gemmell, the MCS Scotland Conservation Officer.

First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, announced last September that a deposit return scheme for drinks containers would be introduced in Scotland to tackle the rising tide of waste ending up in the countryside and seas. It’s expected to be launched in 2019.

“We will continue to call on the UK Government to follow our example and commit to a deposit return scheme so we can build on the success of plastic carrier bag charges and change people’s attitudes towards waste and littering,” said Roseanna Cunningham.

The report included a map of where bottles have been spotted, and a selection of tweets from wild bottle spotters including:

@APRScotland
#wildbottlesightings ruining beautiful #Tolstar #Lewis Machair – recycled in #Stornoway #wildnomore @yougothtebottle

@VulpesM
#wildbottlesightings spoils Loch N Keal, Knock Hatchery, Grullne, Mull @mcsuk @greatbritishbeachclean here Saturday

@AlanBellLomondMP
Alpine wild bottle encountered on Ben Lomond summit. It is now in captivity #wildbottlesightings

@SeeVSea Friday’s #wildbottlesightings in Gullane. I’m sure #depositreturn would help stop it being such a regular thing

MCS and other organisations will now work together to plan the best system for the country.

Deposit Return Systems already operate successfully in other parts of Europe and some states in America, Australia and Provinces in Canada, with more than a quarter of a billion people living in places with deposit systems in place.

“The carrier bag charge proved that small financial incentives can make a big difference in behaviour, and we hope #wildbottlesightings will soon become a thing of the past! This report shows how serious a problem cans, glass, and plastic are for our marine environment and for our towns and countryside, and we hope that Westminster will shortly announce a deposit system for England, ideally one that works seamlessly with the Scottish system,” said Catherine Gemmell.

Margaret Sharkey from Our Lady RC Primary said the children got a lot out of the event: “They learned lots from the visit from MCS, but were shocked to find out about how our rubbish affects marine life. They learned about the bottle deposit scheme and are very pleased that a lot of work is being done to make life better ‘under the sea’”.

You can read the full report here.

MCS is currently calling on UK governments to put a charge on single-use plastic throwaway items and demanding that big fast food chains stop giving out millions of plastic cups, stirrers, straws and cutlery but instead replace them with reusable or fully compostable alternatives.

Actions you can take

  1. See our map of reported bottle sightings
  2. Browse Scotland's Marine Atlas
  3. Join the Plastic Challange
  4. Survey showing public support
  5. Report your #wildbottlesighting using our form
  6. Take your own reusable bottle out and about
  7. Learn about Deposit Return Systems
  8. Find out more about Scottish Wildlife

Did you know?…

To the shelf limits, Scotland has 61% of UK waters, of which 23% are now in existing or new ‘marine protected areas’

MCS established its Scotland office and programme in 2000 in Edinburgh

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

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