Retailers may need more DRS delays, says ACS

Further delays to the UK’s deposit return scheme (DRS) may be needed to give retailers enough time to prepare, the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has warned

Plastic packaging

The trade group has responded to a public accounts committee inquiry into the government’s resources and waste reforms, stating: ‘The government is not on track to meet its DRS implementation target unless significant progress is made on publishing regulations, establishing a Deposit Management Organisation and establishing a [plan for uniting all of the UK under one scheme].’

The ACS added that uncertainties around DRS policy are preventing businesses from preparing for the change.

The UK Government promised a DRS rollout by 2023, but successive failures to develop legislation led the start date to be pushed back until 2025. Scotland’s 2023 DRS launch was also scuttled at short notice earlier this year.

Concerns of further environmental policies affecting stores

The ACS also raised the alarm about other upcoming environmental laws affecting stores, including general recycling, paper cup takeback schemes, single use plastics bans and vape recycling.

The most pressing matter for stores is the single use plastics ban in England, which begins in October 2023, and forces stores to stop selling or providing plastic plates, bowls, trays, cutlery and balloon sticks.

The ACS said the 10-month notice period given to stores was ‘problematic’ and confusing, given Wales has a similar but not identical ban also beginning this October.

Plans to make those providing disposable paper cup, including shops and cafes, operate a takeback scheme has been delayed until 2025, as part of the delay to Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation.

Fed calls for DRS grants for local shops

The ACS said it would affect ‘thousands of convenience retailers’, as 39% of stores offer self-serve coffee in-store, and the timeline of when smaller shops will have to take part is still yet to be announced. This will potentially cause increased costs and pressure for shop owners.

At the beginning of 2023, the government department responsible for enforcing Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) recycling laws said it would be stepping up action against stores selling vapes but failing to comply with the legislation.

Under WEEE, stores selling more than £100,000 of vapes per annum must operate a recycling point.

Those under this threshold must pay to join a recycling scheme.

The ACS submission points out that more changes are on the way, with a review of WEEE regulations pending.

The ACS lobbied: ‘As part of the upcoming DEFRA consultation on WEEE regulations, we hope that government will work with producers to find viable funding and operational solutions for the recycling of vaping products. We hope that DEFRA will issue its WEEE consultation shortly.’

Read more ACS news


This article doesn't have any comments yet, be the first!

Become a member to have your say