The Government has confirmed it will re-introduce the Environment Bill to Parliament, kick starting debate on the introduction of a deposit return scheme, reform of the PRN (packaging recovery note) system and a new levy on single use plastics.

ACS has warned that the legislation will pose operational challenges for local shops, especially around the details of a deposit return scheme which would require retailers to take back drinks containers in stores.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The Environment Bill is an opportunity to improve recycling rates and reduce littering, but the operational challenges this brings for local shops must also be considered. We want to help shape the legislation to deliver a deposit return system that is cost neutral for local shops and convenient for consumers by putting return points in the right locations.”

On charges for single use plastics Lowman said: “The Government has made significant progress in reducing waste from single use plastics but has yet to take the simple step of extending the single use carrier bag charge to independent retailers. Over half of independent retailers already charge for plastic bags and there is wider support for everyone being included in the bag charge.”