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To: UK Governments

Bring back bottle deposits to stop plastic pollution in our oceans.

We Won! 28/03/18

The government today announced that they are going to introduce a bottle deposit return scheme! Congratulations to the hundreds of thousands of people that have campaigned to help make this a reality!

38 Degrees blog post

BBC news

Stop marine plastic pollution by introducing a small, refundable deposit on all plastic bottles, glass bottles and cans to recycle the 16 million plastic bottles thrown away every day.

Why is this important?

In the UK we use a staggering 38.5 million single-use plastic bottles and a further 58 million cans every day! Only half of these are recycled, so it’s no surprise that many of these end up on our beaches and in our oceans.

Plastic bottles take 450 years to break down, killing marine life, harming the coastal ecosystem and ruining our beaches.

Placing a small deposit on plastic bottles and cans would dramatically increase recycling and reduce marine plastic pollution.

This petition has been set up by Surfers Against Sewage, a marine conservation charity. Find out more about Surfers Against Sewage here:

For more information on deposit return systems please visit Surfers Against Sewage’s Message In A Bottle campaign site.

A delegation from Surfers Against Sewage will deliver the petition signatures to the Governments in Westminster (London), Holyrood (Edinburgh), Senedd (Cardiff) and Stormont (Belfast).



2019-02-18 12:53:54 +0000

Today we found out that the government is considering an option to limit the new plastic bottle drinks recycling scheme after pressure from industry.

If successful the move could exclude billions of plastic bottles currently found on UK beaches putting our win at risk.

In the face of this pressure the Secretary of State for the Environment Michael Gove MP must do the right thing for our seas and marine life and put in place a simple ‘all-in’ drinks bottle recycling system without further delay.

We know that Michael Gove uses Twitter so we are asking our supporters to share our message with him. You can RT our tweet here ( )

Thank you for your support, Ben

2018-12-17 10:58:04 +0000

ALERT: 58% of Plastic Bottles Risk Being Left out of New Bottle Recycling Scheme.
Thanks to our campaigning together the Government announced that a Deposit Return Scheme would come into place, but questions are being raised about the size of bottles to be included. You can read about it here:
But in October our supporters measured the size of bottles found on UK beaches and rivers and 58% of all plastic bottles were 750ml or larger and would be left out of the bottle recycling scheme if a size limit is added.
We'll be delivering this new data to Defra, starting with a call with Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey MP this week. We'll keep you updated throughout the process.
Ben at Surfers Against Sewage

2018-03-28 10:59:33 +0100

Petition is successful with 329,314 signatures

2018-02-27 10:24:02 +0000

SAS are disappointed to hear that this week's response by the Government to the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) will cause further delays to the implementation of a UK-wide Deposit Return Scheme (DRS).

The EAC recommended that the Government introduce a DRS for plastic drinks bottles. On Monday the Government indicated that a decision could be delayed until after the consultation on a tax on single-use plastics.

At SAS we are concerned that this could be the start of further backsliding by the Government. There is strong evidence that DRS schemes work well in other countries, with return rates of well over 90% in some cases.

We want to see the Government follow Scotland's lead and introduce a comprehensive DRS system for England. The time for action is now and we urge the government not to kick the proverbial plastic bottle into the long grass, but implement new policies and legislation that the country is crying out for to finally go plastic free.

Team SAS

2018-02-21 09:09:09 +0000

We’ve seen the Scottish Government commit to a deposit return system (DRS). Right now, industry are lobbying ministers in an attempt to water down proposals for a DRS in England. We need to keep pressure on our politicians to make sure England does not get left behind.

SAS has been in Edinburgh consulting on the scope of the DRS system proposed for Scotland. This is a fantastic moment for our Message In a Bottle Campaign and we are confident that a UK-wide DRS scheme can become a reality.

We want to challenge the government to create the best system for England. This means extending the scheme to cover metal and glass drinks containers.

Please share our petition urging the government to take action.

Call on your MP to support Plastic Free Coastlines by getting his or her support for Parliament to ditch unnecessary single-use plastics. Details of our Plastic Free Parliament Campaign can be found here:

Thanks for your support

Team SAS

2018-01-22 14:32:11 +0000

We welcome today’s news that experts back plastic bottle deposit plans. A group of specialists currently reviewing evidence submitted to Defra’s recent consultation on the possible introduction of deposit returns has found that such a system would dramatically increase plastic bottle recycling rates to almost 100%. A well-designed DRS would also prevent the daily littering of approximately 700,000 plastic drinks containers in the UK, which currently pollute our streets, countryside, oceans and beaches. The government now has the golden opportunity to show further, meaningful leadership to tackle plastic pollution by committing to a deposit return system.

Together, we must ensure that Defra makes the right decision to stop the plastic bottle slick suffocating our oceans. Please share our petition to encourage all your friends to sign today.

For more information on #PlasticFreeCoastlines please join us at

Thanks for your support.

Team SAS

2018-01-11 18:00:21 +0000

Whilst we welcome the Prime Minister’s pledge today to deliver plastic free coastlines, 25 years is not a fast enough time frame to tackle the immediate plastic pollution crisis or stop the torrent of plastics choking our oceans. At current rates, over the next 25 years we estimate a further 300 million tonnes of plastic pollution will enter the oceans.

The Prime Minister must take bold and decisive steps to break industry and societal addiction to single-use plastics. A UK-wide deposit refund system is within reach and a proven way to reduce society’s plastic footprint that is trampling our beaches.

The government must now act swiftly to introduce even more ambitious legislation to drive manufacturers away from their love affair with single-use plastics, starting with a UK-wide deposit return system.

For a full update please see:


Team SAS

2017-12-22 08:02:15 +0000

We welcome the publication of the Environmental Audit Committee’s (EAC) report ‘Plastic bottles Turning Back the Plastic Tide’ laying out the findings and recommendations from their inquiry into plastic bottle pollution in our oceans and wider environment.

The EAC responded to the evidence presented by various cross-sectorial experts, including oral and written evidence submitted by SAS supporting the opportunity and need for a deposit return system on plastic bottles.

We are delighted that their findings have concluded with a recommendation that the ‘Government introduces a legislated Deposit Return Scheme for all PET plastic drinks bottles.’ This is a fantastic result for our campaign 'Bring back bottle deposits to stop plastic pollution in our oceans'! We are another big step forward towards a UK-wide deposit return system.

For our full update and to download a copy of the report please visit our website.

Thanks for your support!

Team SAS

2017-12-11 17:26:58 +0000

300,000 signatures reached

2017-11-30 14:58:30 +0000

We were thrilled to welcome and engage government Ministers, Members of Parliament, industry leaders, environmentalists, NGOs and activists at our recent Plastic Free Coastlines event in Parliament to highlight plastic pollution & growing support for a deposit return system. Environment Minister Therese Coffey MP updated us on the government’s progress towards DRS. She is now visiting Norway to witness successful deposit systems as a result of our campaign.

Newly released beach clean data shows more throwaway plastic being found along our coastline than ever before, emphasizing the urgent need to stop plastic at source. We welcome Iceland and the Co-op supermarkets, and National Federation of Retail Newsagents, who have just announced their support for deposit returns. We’d like to invite Sainsburys, Waitrose, Aldi, Lidl, Morrisons and Marks & Spencer to join us to massively increase plastic bottle recycling and protect our oceans from plastic.


Surfers Against Sewage

2017-10-19 15:39:43 +0100

We were stoked to represent you this week in front of the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), presenting expert evidence to a panel of cross-party Members of Parliament. Our petition calling for a UK-wide deposit refund system (DRS) featured strongly in the evidence, reflecting the huge wave of public support for this measure to stop plastic pollution.

Watch the full session here:

Recent surveys estimate that approximately 700,000 plastic beverage containers are littered daily in the UK. Sadly, plastic bottles consistently feature in the top 5 of litter survey ‘most found’ items, whether conducted in marine or terrestrial environments, in the UK and around the world.

The inquiry coincides with the recently launched Defra consultation on deposit refund systems, to which we'll be submitting evidence.

Thanks for your support!

Team SAS

2017-10-12 09:34:04 +0100

This week we launched a new report showing that the introduction of a deposit return system on plastic bottles would save local authorities millions of pounds annually.

With local authority resources under increasing pressure, these findings provide evidence that, rather than negatively affecting local authority waste services, a DRS could actually support them and reduce the costs of delivering the service, while also delivering cleaner streets and reducing the amount of plastic entering our oceans.

To full details please visit:

This report clearly shows that introducing a DRS for England would benefit local economies and communities, saving councils money that could be redirected to other vital frontline services. All the evidence points to the unrivalled benefits of introducing DRS. Good for the environment, people & the economy.

Team SAS

2017-10-03 08:13:06 +0100

We welcome the news that the Secretary of State for the Environment Michael Gove MP has launched a public consultation on the possible introduction of a deposit return system in England. The call for evidence, focusing on ways to increase the recycling rates of drinks containers and preventing the littering of plastic bottles, opened this week and will be running until the 30th October.

The announcement comes in the wake of the delivery of our bottle deposit petition to 10 Downing Street uniting over a quarter of a million voices calling for the introduction of a UK-wide deposit return system to help protect our oceans and beaches from plastic pollution. There is now overwhelming public support, with almost 3 out of 4 people in the UK in favour of the measure.

For more information and to have your say, please take part in the consultation here -


Surfers Against Sewage

2017-09-14 17:04:32 +0100

We were thrilled to deliver our petition; now the UK’s largest calling for a deposit return system, to 10 Downing Street this week, alongside campaigners from 38 Degrees.

Following the submission of the petition, we had a very positive meeting in 10 Downing Street to discuss the growing economic and environmental evidence to support a UK-wide deposit return system. We hope that the Prime Minister will now be bold enough to respond to the overwhelming public support for a system and commit to a timetable to introduce one at the earliest opportunity.

We’re also delighted that the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, recently led the way to announce Scotland’s commitment to a deposit return system. This is already a huge step forward in our campaign to rid our oceans of plastic pollution.

Thanks for your support!

Surfers Against Sewage

2017-07-26 14:41:21 +0100

Last week Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, came out strongly supporting the campaign to introduce a deposit return system for the UK.

Mr Gove said "There's a real challenge for people like me in Government to step up to the plate and reduce the amount of plastic going into our oceans." Mr Gove went onto describe a plastic bottle deposit system as a "great idea" saying he wants the Government to introduce a plastic bottle deposit system "as soon as possible".

We couldn’t agree more Mr Gove!

This level of support from the Environment Secretary is fantastic news for our campaign.

You can start the fight against plastic bottles and other single-use plastics today. Share this petition with your friends and family and for inspiration on how you can reduce your plastic footprint, download your Plastic Free Coastlines toolkit at

* A portion of the signature total has been collected offline and has not yet been verified by 38 Degrees.