The Association of Convenience Stores has given evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee, raising concerns about the practicality, cost and effectiveness of a deposit return scheme in the UK.

The Committee is considering ways to reduce littering and increase plastic bottle recycling rates from the current rate of 74%. The hearing included looking at the way that products are manufactured, the current recycling infrastructure, and Deposit Return Schemes that have been implemented in other countries with mixed results.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We have significant concerns about the retail impact of a deposit return scheme, both operationally for retailers and their staff that would have to manage the scheme in store, and in terms of cost if a scheme were to be introduced through a network of large, expensive reverse vending machines.

“Littering that occurs as a result of people buying products on-the-go at a location that is most convenient to them is unlikely to be solved by a deposit return scheme, as consumers are unlikely to want to inconvenience themselves by diverting to a different location to return bottles and receive a deposit return. We know that overall, consumers prefer to use their home-based kerbside recycling facilities and it’s that area that the Government should be focusing on making more efficient before imposing additional burdens on retailers.”

ACS will be submitting additional written evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee on October 30th.