In a move that is believed to be a global first, industry giant Coca Cola has come out in support of implementing a Deposit Return System in Scotland before it has even been put in place. This marks a significant positive step for the ongoing ‘Have You Got The Bottle?’ campaign of which the Marine Conservation Society is a founding member.
Two years ago during the Great British Beach Clean, volunteers from the Marine Conservation Society found almost 80 bottles per kilometer of beach cleaned and surveyed in Scotland, marking a 21% increase on 2014. In 2016 drinks related litter increased another 10% in Scotland, contributing to a 4% increase UK-wide. Drinks related litter, especially plastic, can cause a whole host of problems for the marine environment from ingestion and the increasingly alarming issue of microplastics and the potential harm to not just marine wildlife, but to those at the top of the food chain: us.
Deposit Return Systems are working in around 40 countries across the world and have improved recycling rates to over 90% as well as reducing the amount of drinks related litter both on beaches and throughout the terrestrial environment. Each system is tailored to that country and the Marine Conservation Society believes that a properly designed system for Scotland will reduce the amount of bottles and cans on our beaches and in our seas, increase recycling rates, reduce carbon emissions and deliver good value for local authorities and tax payers.
The Marine Conservation Society welcomes Coca-Cola’s change of heart as we also believe that a Deposit Return System, custom made for Scotland, will benefit companies such as theirs by providing them with a steady supply of clean recyclate. Smaller businesses will also benefit from increased footfall and handling fees. We look forward to hearing the conclusions of the sub-committee and the outcomes of the workshops.