Influencing policy to #MakeDRSWork

The Brief

Barley worked with Alupro (Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation) to raise awareness of the unintended and damaging consequences of an ‘all-in’ deposit return scheme (DRS) on plastic bottles in Scotland.

Our aim was to achieve coverage in key Scottish media titles that would influencer policy makers to consider moving away from the proposal flat rate deposits for all sizes of drinks containers.


Insights and Approach

We polled 2,000 adults to find out how many would switch from can multipacks to plastic bottles in case of a flat rate deposit of 20p.  

When faced with this choice, two thirds of people currently buying cans in multipacks would be likely to switch from buying infinitely recyclable cans to larger plastic bottles, harming the environment and potentially fuelling obesity.  

The proposed way of running DRS could therefore result in an extra 823 million plastic bottles.  

Media outreach aimed to put pressure on policymakers to think twice before implementing a 20p deposit per unit in Scotland, and instead consider a variable deposit fee based on the container size 

We conducted media relations to carefully selected targets in Scotland, the rest of the UK and trade media. The timing for the release of our research was set to coincide with an MSP briefing on the issue. Alupro’s Executive Director, Rick Hindley, was offered as a spokesperson.  

An infographic was created highlighting the potential damage of the DRS, and facts about the recyclability of aluminium.  

We conducted a further push to media ahead of Rick’s participation at a roundtable six days later.  

Our social media content used the hashtag #MakeDRSWork. We used the infographic and social media cards as visual assets to engage our audience. A sharing pack was created for Alupro members and we targeted key MP and MSPs in the debate on Twitter.   


The Outcome

We successfully raised Alupro’s profile at a key time in the Scottish debate.  Across the two rounds of outreach we secured 33 items of coverage.  

Broadcast coverage included interviews with Rick Hindley on BBC Radio Scotland FM, BBC Scotland (TV) Breakfast news bulletin and STV Scotland Tonight. Radio coverage included BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Shetland, BBC Orkney, and Heart Scotland. 

We achieved 8 items in main Scottish newspapers including The Scotsman, i, The Herald, The Courier, Edinburgh Evening News, Glasgow Evening Times, Daily Record and Scotland on Sunday.  

We also secured an additional 10 items of trade coverage.  

The Twitter campaign achieved excellent engagement, with 263,710 impressions (number of times users saw the tweets) from 20 posts. 

The need for a variable rate has now been recognised by the committee advising the government, with Barley’s work having a significant impact and helping to put Alupro in a stronger position ahead of the next phase of consultations.



pieces of media coverage



opportunities to see/hear



Twitter impressions


Twitter engagements


Facebook reach


Facebook engagements