Message in a bottle


A Marine Litter campaign

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Message in a bottle

The campaign

The campaign calls on Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England to introduce a Deposit Return System on plastic bottles and other single use drinks containers.

Show your support by signing the Message In A Bottle petition! We will deliver the petition to the Protect Our Waves All Party Parliamentary Group and the devolved Parliaments in summer 2017.

Introducing a small economic incentive (10-20p deposit) will be incredibly effective in ensuring consumers keep their single-use plastic bottles and drinks containers in the recycling economy rather than the environment. (The full deposit is returned to the consumer when they return the bottle to the readily available return facilities placed in shops and public spaces.)

After signing the petition, please make the effort to write to your elected representative in your parliament calling for a Deposit Return System to be included in the National Litter Strategy. The Message In A Bottle website has a helpful guide on how to structure the letter to your elected official.

The campaign also contains several social media actions that we also need your support on.

Full details of all of the Message In A Bottle campaign actions can be found at the bespoke Message In A Bottle campaign website.  And click here for the petition.

Get involved

How can you help with this campaign…


Campaign timeline

Key campaign dates


Launched the campaign

The campaign was launched in August 2016.  An impressive 5,000 supporters signed the Message In A Bottle petition on day one


New study published show appetite for deposit return system

Cardiff University published a paper establishing how popular and effective the 5p bag charge has been and demonstrated how the public have a clear appetite for deposit return systems.


SAS beach clean volunteers removed 50,000 bottles and cans from UK beaches

SAS volunteers at the SAS Big Spring Beach Clean and Autumn Beach Clean Series removed 50,000 plastic bottles and cans from beaches across the UK!  Thank you team, you are awesome!!


Early Day Motion for Deposit Return Systems

Protect Our Waves All Party Parliamentary Group member and Green Party co leader Caroline Lucas MP sponsored an Early Day Motion for deposit return systems.  The Early Day Motion has support from MPs from seven political parties.


Hundreds of supporters lobby their MPs

SAS supporters sent several hundred letters to their MPs, MSPs, WAMs and MLAs calling for deposit return systems.


Sky and the Daily Mail support the campaign

Sky launch their Sky Ocean Rescue featuring HRH the Prince of Wales, Sir Richard Branson and Sir Ben Ainslie all supporting deposit return systems.

The Daily Mail run multiple stories on the need for deposit returns across the front pages and with several double page spreads and editorials.


SAS secure 200,000 signtures on our petition

The Message In A Bottle petition is hosted on the 38 degrees site and collects an extra 200,000 signatures in the first month.


Coca Cola & Suez support deposit return systems

Industry giants Coca Cola perform an unexpected but welcomed public U-turn to support deposit return systems.  In the same week, waste and recycling industry leader Suez publicly back the deposit returns, promoting the benefits for the economy, communities and the environment.


A motion supporting deposit return systems set down in Scottish Parliament

A motion supporting deposit return systems has been set down in the Scottish Parliament, receiving the support of almost 50 MSP, from all political parties, in the first week.


The Environmental Audit Committee launch inquiry into single-use plastic bottles & coffee cups

The Government’s Environmental Audit Committee are undertaking an inquiry into the staggering number of single-use plastic bottles and throwaway coffee cups that are used everyday in the UK.  Evidence will be received before 5th April and the committee will report back to the Government summer 2017.


Federation for independent retailers support deposit returns for Scotland

The NFRN, the federation representing independent retailers (newsagents and convenience stores) have also come out in support of a deposit return system for Scotland!

That’s industry leaders from the beverage sector (Coca-Cola), Waste & Recycling sector (Suez) and now the small/medium retailers (NFRN) supporting deposit returns for Scotland.

Share this petition with your friends and family to help us persuade the Government.


Government's National Litter Strategy Published

The Government has published the long-awaited National Litter Strategy for England and we welcome the news that deposit return systems will be seriously assessed as a measure to protect the environment. An expert panel will be looking at evidence to support a successful scheme to add a small refundable deposit to plastic bottles and other containers to help deliver much higher recycling rates, conserve resources, create green jobs, and protect our coastlines from the growing plastic pollution crisis.  Read more