I’m Jodie and I’ve been volunteering with BFoE for two years now. I’m currently doing the Birmingham Campaign Course, a course which trains people on how to organise and carry out a campaign. It aims to turn activists into organisers. After a session on picking an issue to campaign on I chose recycling, as this is an issue I am passionate about.

As recycling is a massive area I quickly realised that I needed to focus the campaign on one part of the wider issue of recycling and that the campaign needed to have an achievable goal. This is in keeping with what we have discussed on the course about campaign targets. I decided to focus the campaign on bringing in a deposit return scheme in Birmingham for plastic bottles. 16 million plastic bottles are thrown away in the UK every day! Large numbers of these end up in our oceans which kills our marine life and threatens our ecosystems. Bottle deposit return schemes place a small deposit on plastic bottles which you get back if you return them. Bottles that are returned can then be recycled.

The major obstacle to winning this campaign is that beverage industries are against bottle deposit return schemes. Put briefly, this is because such schemes would involve them contributing to the cost of the disposal of plastic bottles. However, a bottle deposit return scheme exists in Scotland and in other countries around the world which shows that this obstacle can be overcome. For example, the carrier bag charge was introduced successfully and,over time and has achieved its aim of reducing the number of carrier bags thrown away. This shows the same is possible for a deposit return scheme on plastic bottles.

I hope my campaign will raise awareness of the issue of the massive number of plastic bottles that are thrown away and the environmental effects of this so that I can then work towards implementing a bottle deposit scheme. I am still at the early stages of the campaign so if you have any suggestions or would like to help please do email me on jodie@birminghamfoe.org.uk