ACS: All-In DRS the Right Approach, But Challenges Remain for Small Stores

ACS has reiterated its calls for the Government to take into account the challenges facing small stores ahead of the introduction of a deposit return scheme (DRS).

Speaking at a meeting of the Tidy Britain All Party Parliamentary Group, ACS Government Relations Director Ed Woodall outlined how a well-designed deposit return scheme could work for the convenience sector.

Mr Woodall told the meeting: “The all-in DRS system is the right approach, driven by the need for consistency across the UK to make the system as easy as possible for consumers and retailers to interact with. We are committed to helping the government deliver the best possible DRS system, but there is no hiding from the fact that the implementation of DRS in small retail outlets is a really big challenge.”

During the session, Mr Woodall outlined the challenges facing small stores when it comes to introducing a DRS that works for small stores – these include questions about how a scheme would work for the smallest stores that don’t have space to store containers, the increased pressure on staff to administer a scheme, and the cost of operating such a scheme.

In earlier submissions to Government, ACS has set out in detail a series of principles that make up a workable deposit return scheme. These include:

  • The most effective and safest approach for returns is through reverse vending machines, not manual returns
  • If manual returns are going to be included in the scheme, they must be voluntary. Retailers must not be required to take returns manually
  • A DRS that includes glass return facilities results in a more complicated system that is more expensive and difficult to run, so glass should be excluded from the scheme
  • The location of return points must be strategically mapped; there is no benefit to the excessive clustering of return points that would result from all retailers being forced to take part in the scheme
  • Any DRS must be cost-neutral for retailers

Last week, the Environmental Audit Committee published a report on DRS, acknowledging the challenges facing small retailers. The report states that concerns around the safety and logistical difficulties of including glass within the scheme must be addressed for the Committee to support its inclusion.

ACS’ briefing for members on a well-designed DRS scheme is available on our member portal here.

More information about the Tidy Britain APPG is available here

This entry was posted by Chloe on Wed, 26/05/2021 - 14:50