James Lowman ACS

ACS chief executive James Lowman

Small shops should be able to apply for exemption if new recycling regulations on returning bottles and cans to retailers are enacted, according to the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS).

The call came in its response to an Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) call for evidence on the next steps for the implementation of deposit return schemes (DRS).

Key recommendations from ACS include:

  • strategically map the location of return points rather than mandating every location that sells drinks to take back containers;
  • small retail outlets should be able to apply for exemptions from DRS where they have limited sales and storage space or to facilitate a return point;
  • containers should only be returned through a network of reverse vending machines;
  • the logistical challenges caused by the inclusion of glass must be recognised in the development the scheme;
  • handling fees must cover the cost of taking back drinks containers;
  • the scheme must work with other schemes such as EPR (extended producer responsibility) to avoid a double taxation burden on retailers.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “It is important that the committee takes local shops’ concerns into consideration and our priority remains with ensuring sector has sufficient support and guidance for implementation aided by government liaison, guidance, and a reasonable implementation period.

“We are committed to working with the government and the scheme administrator to implement a scheme that is workable for both smaller stores and consumers.”