Plastic bottle deposits ‘burden on retailers’, ACS tells MPs
The Association of Convenience Stores has given evidence to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, raising concerns about the practicality, cost and effectiveness of a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles in the UK.
The committee is considering ways to reduce littering and increase plastic bottle recycling rates from the current 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 what the ACS described as “mixed results”.
Speaking to the committee, 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.”