Beer bottle litter on Crantock beach Cornwall Natasha Ewins

Scotland’s seas can’t afford any more broken promises

3 minute read

Catherine Gemmell

Catherine Gemmell, Scotland Conservation Officer

20 Dec 2021

Our Scotland team are calling for big producers to step up and play their part to deliver the promised Scottish Deposit Return Scheme for bottles and cans after hearing the Circular Economy Minster announce another delay to the start of the scheme.

Our seas cannot wait any longer

On Tuesday the 14th December the Scottish Government Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater MSP announced a new start date of the 16th of August 2023 for the Deposit Return Scheme that was promised by the First Minister back in 2017.

The scheme was meant to have started in 2021 but got delayed to 2022 and has now been pushed back even further to August 2023.

That’s another year Scotland’s shores will see bottles and cans piling up and impacting wildlife.

That’s another year our amazing volunteers will have to spend time picking up bottle after bottle and can after can. Enough is enough.

We need the big producers to step up and play their part. Our planet is already facing a climate, nature and ocean emergency – it can’t afford any more delays to schemes to help save it.

If it takes this long for the Scottish Government to deliver this scheme, already in place all over the world, what hope have we got they will deliver other sea-saving schemes in time?

Catherine Gemmell, Scotland Conservation Officer

140,000

more

cans and bottles littering Scotland's streets, parks and beaches every single day that a deposit return system is delayed

If it takes this long for the Scottish Government to deliver this scheme, already in place all over the world, what hope have we got they will deliver other sea saving schemes in time?

*estimated by Eunomia, on behalf of Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland (APRS)

Twelve years of delays

Scottish Government has had the power to bring in a scheme to tackle littering since 2009, politicians announced their commitment to do so in 2017, and yet we're still waiting for the long-promised deposit return scheme.

As an organisation, we're so disappointed that the Scottish Government has announced another setback , especially following the results of this year's Great British Beach Clean continuing to highlight the problem of drinks related litter on Scottish beaches.

Read more about Scotland's Great British Beach Clean 2021

See the results

If it takes this long for the Scottish Government to deliver this scheme, already in place all over the world, what hope have we got they will deliver other sea saving schemes in time?

I hope that the Minister for Circular Economy Lorna Slater MSP will keep this promise and deliver the best possible scheme for Scotland. However, I also send a plea to those in power, both in government and industry, to do everything they can to speed up the process. bet356电竞平台的海洋只是等不及了.

Will Scottish Government keep this promise which will combat the Climate, Nature and Ocean Emergency or will it be yet another broken promise? With your support we will keep up the pressure.

beach clean stat.jpg

Credit: Catherine Gemmell, Scotland Conservation Officer

How big is the drinks' litter problem in Scotland?

  • 92% of beaches surveyed in Scotland are littered with glass bottles, cans and single-use plastic drinks containers*
  • 140,000 additional cans and bottles littering Scotland's streets, parks and beaches every single day that a Deposit Return System is delayed**
  • Drinks-related litter can be found, on average, for every 3 metres on beaches surveyed in Scotland***
  • 12 years: how long politicians have been promising a scheme to tackle litter pollution

*Found by volunteers during this years’ Great British Beach Clean

**Figure estimated by Eunomia on behalf of the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland (APRS)

***An average of 28.8 drinks related litter items (plastic and glass bottles, cans and caps & lids) were recorded per 100m during our 2021 surveys

Why is a deposit return scheme so important?

The scheme will include PET plastic bottles, glass bottles and steel/aluminium drinks cans. People 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 two years, which is a big step towards Scotland having a circular economy.

It's estimated that a deposit return scheme would prevent more than 100,000 items of drink-related litter polluting Scotland every day.

DRS cans.jpg

Credit: Catherine Gemmell, Scotland Conservation Officer

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