ACS Responds to Government Packaging Consultations

ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has responded to a three crucially important proposals from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on: introducing a deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks containers, reforming the UK producer responsibility system and introducing a plastic packaging tax.

The consultations were launched following their commitment to consult in their Resources and Waste Strategy which was published last year.

The government DRS consultation looked at two options on how a DRS could work in England: an ‘on-the-go’ model which would only include containers less than 750ml in size and sold in single format containers, and the ‘all in’ model which would be designed to also capture larger drinks containers.

ACS’ submission raises concerns about the impact that the introduction of a deposit return scheme would have on small shops, particularly regarding their role in taking back containers.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Retailers are concerned about the introduction of a deposit return scheme, including practical issues which must be considered including hygiene issues, limited space to store dirty bottles, pressure on staff and the increased queuing times that their customers would face.

“This is why we have called on the government to ensure that if they do introduce a deposit return scheme, that it works for small shops, by only having drinks containers taken back by reverse vending machines, taking a more strategic look at where return points should be located rather than mandating every retailer, exempting stores which are too small to facilitate a DRS, and targeting the scheme at on-the-go packaging.”

ACS has also responded to government proposals to reform the packaging producer responsibility system. Under the existing packaging responsibility system, only businesses which have a turnover of more than £2 million and handle more than 50 tonnes of packaging are required to comply. ACS warned that lowering the current threshold would place significant administrative burdens on small retailers in calculating how much packaging they are handling. ACS instead called for costs of the regulation to be applied at a single point further up the supply chain who have more influence in changing packaging decisions.

Mr Lowman continued: “The current system requires businesses to conduct complex calculations, then to buy proof that they have recovered the packaging they are obligated to have recycled.  We welcome the government’s proposals to instead place the costs of recycling further up the supply chain, so that heavily packaged products attract greater costs that have to be borne by all wholesalers, retailers and ultimately consumers, by with the bureaucracy of making these calculations removed.” 

The full submissions are available here.

This entry was posted by Chloe on Tue, 14/05/2019 - 14:01