Get a feel for a deposit return scheme at Edinburgh Zoo

By: Clare Fischer
Date posted: 4 April 2018

Easter visitors to RZSS Edinburgh Zoo will be able to learn about deposit return systems for drinks containers ahead of a national deposit return scheme being rolled out in Scotland.

DRS Penguin
© RZSS Edinburgh

We’re delighted that RZSS have been able to tell this story to their thousands of visitors over Easter. Everyone has a role to play if we want to stop this plastic tide hitting our shores, including the Scottish Government, businesses, visitors, and organisations like MCS

Catherine Gemmell,
MCS Scotland Conservation Officer

MCS has been working in collaboration with Have You Got the Bottle? and the zoo on a series of exhibits which will give visitors the chance to learn more about how deposit return systems work.

For the duration of the school spring holidays, visitors are being encouraged to return their plastic bottles to a reverse vending machine in the zoo’s Penguin Café and to a former rhino transportation crate in exchange for a 10p reward.

Last September the Scottish Government’ announced it would introduce a DRS for drinks containers in the country, and just last week, Environment Minister, Michael Gove, announced the same for England.

Since the Scottish Government’s announcement the RZSS Sustainability and Green Teams have been working with the MCS and the Have You Got The Bottle? campaign to create the interactive attractions for visitors.

Catherine Gemmell says it’s great to see the Royal Zoological Society for Scotland giving visitors the chance to learn about DRS: “Our seas and beaches have been paying the price for our increasingly throw away society but now in Scotland, and hopefully right across the UK, we will all soon be paying small deposits on our drinks bottles and cans which we can get back when we recycle them.

“We’re delighted that RZSS have been able to tell this story to their thousands of visitors over Easter. Everyone has a role to play if we want to stop this plastic tide hitting our shores, including the Scottish Government, businesses, visitors, and organisations like MCS.”

Rachael Clark, Sustainability Advisor at Edinburgh Zoo, said the zoo is passionate about finding the most sustainable way to operate: “We have already eradicated plastic straws from all of our cafes, and replaced non-recyclable coffee cups and cutlery with compostable alternatives. Our Green Team have worked hard to create these fun visitor exhibits, and we’re looking forward to engaging with our visitors about how we can reduce single use plastic and its impact on the wildlife that we care about so much.”

Jenni Hume, Campaign Manager for Have You Got the Bottle? said: “We’re delighted to collaborate with the Green Team at Edinburgh Zoo and MCS . Now that the design process for a Scottish deposit return system is well underway, it’s great to have the opportunity to engage with the public and talk about this exciting Scottish Government initiative.”

Do you want to help stop the plastic tide? We are 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. Take your own reusable bottle out and about
  2. Learn about Deposit Return Systems
  3. Survey showing public support
  4. Find out more about Scottish Wildlife
  5. Join the Plastic Challenge
  6. See our map of reported bottle sightings
  7. Browse Scotland's Marine Atlas
  8. Report your #wildbottlesighting using our form

Did you know?…

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

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