Campaigners hail victory as Nicola Sturgeon announces deposit return scheme for Scotland

Publication date: 5th September 2017

Commenting on Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement today that Scotland will introduce a deposit return scheme for drinks containers, Willie Mackenzie, oceans expert at Greenpeace UK, said:

‘Governments are waking up to the frightening scale of ocean plastic pollution and it’s brilliant to see Scotland leading the way in helping to tackle it. On Greenpeace’s recent research expedition around remote Scottish coastlines, plastic bottles and packaging were simply everywhere.  A staggering 16 million plastic bottles end up in the environment every day in the UK and deposit return schemes are a great way to make sure more of them are collected and reused.

‘Today’s announcement by the First Minister is a massive step in stopping plastic pollution, and the result of tireless campaigning by many groups and individuals. With businesses and an overwhelming majority of the public in favour of deposit schemes, the Scottish Government now has a mandate to implement as robust a system as possible to help reduce plastic pollution. Hopefully it won’t be too long before the rest of the UK follows suit.

‘Alongside a deposit return scheme, major soft drinks companies like Coca-Cola – who backed deposit return schemes after being exposed by Greenpeace for lobbying against them – need to seriously rethink their business models. Creating over 100 billion single-use plastic bottles a year is the root of the problem. Drastically reducing their plastic footprint is the only solution. Throwaway plastic causes ocean pollution, and the sooner companies face up to that, the quicker we’ll stem the plastic tide.’

Nicola Sturgeon also announced that diesel and petrol cars and vans will be phased out in Scotland by 2032. Anna Jones, clean air campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said:

‘The Scottish Government has set a significantly more ambitious target to phase out petrol and diesel cars and vans than the one recently set by the UK Government in Westminster. 2032 recognises the need to address the health concerns of air pollution, the climate risk of carbon emissions and the huge economic opportunity of a rapid take-up of ultra-low emission technologies. This is what real leadership looks like. If the ambition is there, the opportunities and solutions are available, and Sturgeon’s Government is proposing a whole package, ranging from supporting electric vehicle charging infrastructure in densely populated areas to electrified train networks. Today’s announcement shows Nicola Sturgeon’s vision for global environmental leadership. The ball is now in Theresa May’s court.’


Notes to editors

Greenpeace has been campaigning for a deposit return scheme for drinks containers in Scotland alongside Have You Got The Bottle, the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland and the Marine Conservation Society and others:

Over 150,000 people have already signed Greenpeace’s petition calling for the introduction of deposit return schemes across the UK:

Greenpeace recently undertook a two-month ocean plastic research voyage around Scottish coastlines, documenting the impact of pollution on wildlife and remote beaches:

A petition with almost 25,000 signatures was handed in to Scotland’s Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham in June, following Greenpeace’s two-month ocean plastic expedition: