Bottle deposit return schemes would impose significant time and cost burdens on convenience store retailers and their staff, according to evidence presented by ACS at the Labour Party Conference this week.
At a fringe event hosted by the British Soft Drinks Association on Monday evening, ACS detailed the issues that would be faced by retailers if they were forced to be part of a bottle deposit return scheme.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Convenience stores do not have the space in store to install expensive reverse vending machines, and for those who would have to collect the bottles manually, this would cause significant queues and potential flashpoints in store. The UK has a far more developed kerbside recycling infrastructure than some European countries that have introduced DRS, and we believe that the Government should focus its efforts on working with local councils to maximise the effectiveness of kerbside recycling and not place extra burdens on retailers.”
A survey of 1,210 UK retailers found that 71% thought a Deposit Return scheme would be impractical to implement due to the space required in store. A separate survey of 2,000 consumers across the UK found that 70% preferred to use kerbside household recycling facilities over a deposit return system for bottles and cans. In the same survey, the top three reasons given for why consumers would recycle more were:
If more packaging was recyclable (37%); if packaging was more clearly labelled as recyclable (35%); and if household recycling collections took a greater range of recyclable goods (29%).
In Westminster, the Environmental Audit Committee is currently conducting an inquiry into disposable coffee cups and plastic bottles, looking at ways to reduce the level of waste created by those products. Environmental Audit Committee chair Mary Creagh MP was present during the fringe event, speaking on a panel alongside James Lowman (ACS), Gavin Partington (BSDA) and Belinda Gordon (CPRE).