Michael Gove urged to follow Scotland’s lead for an all-inclusive money back recycling system

Date posted: 8 May 2019

Poll shows overwhelming support in England for Deposit Return Scheme

The CEO of the UK’s leading marine conservation charity, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), has urged Michael Gove to follow the example set by Scotland today in designing an ambitious all-inclusive money-back recycling system for bottles and cans.


The Scottish Government announced details this afternoon of the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) which will be introduced in Scotland.

Ministers at Holyrood confirmed that glass, cans and some plastic containers will be covered, but other plastics and materials such as tetrapaks and pouches are not to be included initially. The deposit will be set at 20p for all containers, and retailers of all sizes will be paid by the system to accept returns.

MCS CEO, Sandy Luk, said: “We are very pleased with today’s announcement that the system in Scotland will include glass, along with some plastics and aluminium.

“Scotland is now ahead of the game and our polling shows that people in England would support an all-inclusive scheme, so Michael Gove must listen to what consumers want.

“The rest of the UK must follow the Scottish Government’s lead to ensure we have the best systems in place across the UK. We need to have compatible schemes so that there is no confusion among consumers and so that we can increase recycling and help reduce the tide of glass and plastic bottles and cans blighting our shores and seas.”

Her call comes as the Marine Conservation Society reveals details of a survey which shows overwhelming support in England for a Deposit Return Scheme.

It shows that 72% of people in England, questioned in a YouGov poll for MCS, think a Deposit Return Scheme should include all sizes of drinks container. The same poll shows 60% of adults in England think a Deposit Return Scheme should include plastic, glass bottles and aluminium cans.

Defra has a consultation running until May 13th asking the public, businesses and industry on the type of DRS they would like to see in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – including how it should be operated and the size and material of drinks bottles and cans to be included.

More than 15,000 people have responded through MCS’s Bottles for Change campaign in calling for an all-inclusive scheme - along with many UK businesses such as Silentnight, RapaNui and Ocean Outdoor.

Christina Wells from Heart of London Business Alliance, an organisation which serves as a voice for 500 central London businesses, said: “The businesses we represent are keen to support environmentally-friendly and sustainable practices, to reduce single-use plastic and un-necessary waste and to prevent litter such as bottles and cans from entering our oceans.

“We support the Marine Conservation Society’s drive to encourage as many people as possible to take part in the UK Government’s consultation, and to highlight the need for the best possible Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) if introduced to the UK.”

Around 21,000 items of drinks related litter including glass and plastic bottles, aluminium cans and bottle tops were found on UK beaches during the MCS 2018, Great British Beach Clean. Volunteers found an average of 16 littered drinks containers per 100 metres of UK beaches surveyed, with as many as 72 containers per 100 metres recorded on one beach alone.

The Marine Conservation Society is urging members of the public to take part in the UK Government’s consultation before it closes on May 13th, via a pre-filled form on their BottlesforChange.uk website – it takes just two minutes.


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