ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has responded to an Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) call for evidence on the next steps for the implementation of deposit return schemes.
The call for evidence sought views on; materials in scope, scheme design, obligations on retailers, recent changes in retail activity and how the scheme works in relation to other Government waste schemes under the Resource and Waste Strategy such as Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).
ACS’ key recommendations for the scheme include:
- Strategically map the location of return points rather than mandating every location that sells drinks to take back containers
- Small retail outlets should be able to apply for exemptions from DRS where they have limited sales and storage space or to facilitate a return point
- Containers should only be return through a network of reverse vending machines
- The logistical challenges caused by the inclusion of glass must be recognised in the development the scheme
- Handling fees must adequately cover the cost of taking back drinks containers
- The scheme must work with other schemes such as EPR to avoid a double taxation burden on retailers
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “It is important that the Committee takes local shops’ concerns into consideration and our priority remains with ensuring sector has sufficient support and guidance for implementation aided by Government liaison, guidance, and a reasonable implementation period.
“We are committed to working with the Government and the scheme administrator to implement a scheme that is workable for both smaller stores and consumers.”
ACS continues to work with the Government and specifically the Department for Food and Rural Affairs through working groups and other channels to support a cost neutral DRS delivery and aid the sectors implementation.