The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has urged environment secretary Michael Gove to re-think his support for an “all-in” deposit return scheme in England and Wales.

This week Gove outlined his support for an approach that could require retailers to take back plastic, glass and metal bottles and other containers as part of the proposed deposit return scheme, with no limits on the size of the container that can be returned.

ACS has repeatedly raised concerns about the space, cost, staff time, and hygiene and health risks associated with an ‘all-in’ system, especially where retailers have to take back containers manually across the till. This is the model currently being developed in Scotland.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We are disappointed that the secretary of state is moving towards an ‘all-in’ deposit return scheme that will place significant burdens on local shops. Taking back glass and plastic bottles of all sizes and could present hygiene and health risks to store colleagues handling soiled and broken drinks containers, and would require significant space for return machines capable of handling this breadth of packaging, and storing it securely.

“An all-in system is a blunt instrument that undermines the existing kerbside recycling infrastructure. We urge the Government to look more closely at a well-designed deposit return scheme that strategically maps the location of return points and focuses on tackling the core problem of consumers not recycling plastic containers while on the move.”