The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has urged the Government to ensure that it fully considers the long-term costs and implications of a deposit return scheme after the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) committed to further consultation on the issue.

This week Defra published its summary of the consultation responses and committed to introducing a deposit return scheme in England and Wales no later than 2023, with further consultation due in 2020. In total, Defra received 1,180 responses to the initial consultation.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “There are still more questions than answers when it comes to introducing a deposit return scheme that will be effective, economically viable and doesn’t undermine our existing kerbside infrastructure. We welcome further consultation on this important issue, and urge the Government to focus on a scheme that is targeted at solving the problem of consumers not recycling the packaging of products that they consume on the go or away from their homes.”

Environment secretary Michael Gove, just before he was moved to another Cabinet post, outlined his support for an ‘all-in’ deposit return scheme model, which would include different materials like metal, glass and milk cartons as well as no restrictions on the size of containers included in the scheme. ACS has raised concerns that an ‘all-in’ model would cause significant disruption for retailers and undermine the UK’s kerbside recycling network.