ACS to Submit Evidence to Inquiry on Bottle Recycling

The Environmental Audit Committee has relaunched its inquiry into disposable coffee cups and plastic bottles, looking at ways to reduce the level of waste created by those products. 

ACS has reiterated its concerns about a possible deposit return scheme for bottles and cans, outlining the problems that a scheme would cause for retailers and urging the Government to focus on effective measures to increase recycling rates.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Our view remains that DRS would impose massive unnecessary time and cost burdens on retailers operating from small premises. We will be submitting evidence to the Committee, urging them to focus on recycling measures that are effective, popular with the public and don’t add costs to small shops, such as improving the existing kerbside recycling schemes.”

The Committee, which is taking written submissions until 29 September, is looking at the following issues around solutions for recycling bottles and cups: 

  • What initiatives could be utilised to reduce coffee cup and plastic bottle waste or to lessen the impact of this waste? In particular what are the opportunities and risks associated with:
    — Incentives to encourage the use of re-usable alternatives for these products.
    — Charge, taxes, deposits or levies on the use of these products.
  • How can we encourage households, businesses, food and drink outlets, and offices to change behaviours or introduce policies to reduce their coffee cup and plastic bottle waste?
  • How are other countries working to reduce coffee cup and plastic bottle waste? What examples of best practice are there that the UK could learn from?

A survey of 1,210 UK retailers found that 71% thought a Deposit Return scheme would be impractical to implement due to the space required in store. A survey of 2,000 consumers across the UK found that 70% preferred to use kerbside household recycling facilities over a deposit return system for bottles and cans.

In the same survey, the top three reasons given for why consumers would recycle more were:

  • If more packaging was recyclable (37%)
  • If packaging was more clearly labelled as recyclable (35%) and
  • If household recycling collections took a greater range of recyclable goods (29%)

In May, the Environmental, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee in the Scottish Parliament published a report on the viability of deposit returns, recognising that one of the central barriers to a scheme is the ‘lack of space for DRS collection facilities in smaller shops or independent retailers’.

ACS will be submitting further evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee inquiry in due course. More information about the inquiry is available here:

This entry was posted by Chris on Thu, 14/09/2017 - 16:47