Scotland's Deposit Return Scheme: Don't Bottle it now!

Money for Empties 2023

Scotland's deposit return scheme has the power to change everything. When it comes to getting rid of litter for good, nothing else even comes close.

Drinks containers are one of the commonest littered items - The Marine Conservation Society reported recently that 95% of their beach cleans contained drinks containers. In countries with deposit return littered bottles and cans are almost unheard of and recycling rates are over 90%. It will save money for hard-pressed councils, save greenhouse emissions, and take us a step towards a true circular economy. 

But our deposit return scheme is in real danger of being scrapped. It was supposed to start two years ago and it has been delayed twice. We cannot delay again - email your MSPs today. 

It's always most powerful to send an email with your own experiences. Perhaps your experiences of litter in your local park, streets or special places.

Friends of the Earth Scotland are part of the 'Have you got the Bottle?' campaign and are are kindly hosting this action. 

click here to read more about what to write

There is a box to write about why this is important to you, which will be added to the email and you can also click on the 'personalise this email' link to view the emails and edit them.

Do you pick up litter in your neighbourhood and see a lot of drinks containers? Are you worried about the speed of change we need to deal with the climate crisis and this feels like foot-dragging? Do you want to see producers taking responsibility for the waste they produce and see a truly circular economy?

If you would like any ideas for points to include in this email, here are some suggestions:

  • The majority of the public are supportive of a deposit return scheme. According to a Zero Waste Scotland poll, 70% of the Scots surveyed are in favour of the scheme and a poll this month showed 72% think it should be rolled out across the UK
  • Deposit return was originally due to begin in 2021, and was initially announced by the First Minister in 2017. Since then the scheme has been delayed twice and countless cans and bottles have been unnecessarily littered.
  • Deposit return is a polluter pays scheme - this shifts the responsibility for waste from the environment and society to the companies creating the waste. This is a basis for good environmental policy.
  • Scotland's deposit return scheme will collect 1.5 billion bottles and cans every year, which otherwise would be littered, landfilled, or incinerated. Every day deposit return is not in place, an estimated 34,000 drinks containers are littered.
  • Scotland's deposit return scheme will cut carbon emissions by 160,000 tonnes every year, the equivalent to taking 85,000 cars off the road.
  • Deposit return must go ahead if we are to make any progress in reducing litter, boosting recycling rates, and moving towards a more sustainable, circular economy.