Petition of ¼ million signatures for Plastic returnable bottle deposit scheme hits Downing Street

Surfers Against Sewage report, 14th September 2017: “This week we were thrilled to lead a delegation of cross-party MPs and charities to submit our Message In A Bottle petition, the UK’s largest petition — 267,554 signatures — calling for a deposit return system with more than quarter of a million signatures, to the Prime Minister. We were joined for the petition submission by our All Party Parliamentary Group chair Steve Double MP, vice-chair Geraint Davies MP and co-leader of the Green party Caroline Lucas MP, alongside our campaign partners 38 Degrees.

Message In A Bottle

  • Surfers Against Sewage campaigners, 38 Degrees, the Marine Conservation Society and cross-party MPs submit Message In A Bottle petition.
  • Over quarter of a million signatures presented to 10 Downing Street to call for action on ocean plastic pollution with a UK-wide deposit return system
  • Scotland commits to Deposit Return System: Rest of the UK not far behind
  • Meeting in 10 Downing Street suggests imminent announcement on DRS
  • New poll shows 73% of public support the introduction of a deposit return system

Huge Public Support
Supporting the event, the Marine Conservation Society also released a new poll showing 73% of the British public support the introduction of a deposit return system across the UK for single-use drinks bottles and cans. The petition and poll clearly demonstrate the UK public overwhelmingly supports introducing a deposit return system to stem the tide of ocean plastic pollution.

Downing Street Meeting
Following the submission of the petition, we convened a meeting in 10 Downing Street to discuss the growing economic and environmental evidence to introduce a comprehensive deposit return system on bottles and cans, and the massive public support to do so. We were very encouraged by the discussion, which reflected on the important leverage the scale of the Message in a Bottle petition, will have in relation to imminent government policy decisions on the issue of plastic bottles polluting our environment. We’d like to thank everyone who signed, shared and supported the petition. We were honoured to take your voice to Downing Street to help create the change we want to see to protect our oceans and beaches from the growing tide of plastic pollution.

Plastic Pollution
The harmful impacts from plastic pollution can continue to damage the oceans for hundreds of years. A third of fish currently caught in the UK have plastics in their guts and the average UK seafood eater consumes 11,000 plastic particles annually. Strong and effective action to protect our oceans from plastic pollution is urgently needed and the introduction of a deposit return system would prevent an estimated 4 million plastic bottles from entering the oceans every week in the UK.

Political Support
There is growing cross-party support within our Protect Our Waves All Party Parliamentary Group, with many members championing deposit returns and challenging the government to adopt this system as soon as possible. Secretary of State for the Environment, the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, recently described deposit return systems as “a great idea”, saying he’d like to see one introduced “as soon as possible”

The delivery of the petition comes on the back of the recent announcement that Scotland is now committed to introducing a deposit return scheme. The First Minister for Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, confirmed the commitment while unveiling her new programme for government, which sets out how the country will be run for the next 12 months.

Watch this space for the next announcements on deposit return systems and plastic free coastlines.

Source: Surfers Against Sewage News Release, 14th September 2017. For further details, see

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