Retailers will pay the full cost of recycling or disposing of their packaging waste under new government proposals.

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced the proposal, which will enter consultation next year, in its Resources and Waste Strategy released this month.

Tax payers currently fund 90% of their local authority’s recycling, while businesses pay the rest. Under the same strategy, DEFRA will also consult on penalising retailers for selling products in “difficult to recycle” packaging, which includes black plastic trays and disposable coffee cups.

Anish Panchmatia, of Spar Wylde Green in Sutton Coldfield, told RN he is concerned his margins will be reduced. “It will add more cost to my bottom line. The supplier should pay the full cost because we can’t influence how our products are packaged when they arrive at the store.”

Ken Singh, of Mill Hill Stores in Pontefract, added: “This is all unfair because I can’t tell suppliers or wholesalers how to package their products.”

DEFRA also confirmed it will consult next year on introducing a deposit return scheme (DRS) throughout England, with plans to implement it by 2023. Under DRS, which is currently being piloted in convenience stores in Scotland, customers pay a surcharge on drinks in plastic bottles.

The surcharge is returned when the empty bottle is returned to a reverse vending machine. Other consultations include charging fees to suppliers for packaging products in materials that are difficult to reuse or recycle, and making retailers provide annual reports on their food wastage. Food waste prevention targets could also be introduced.

Jacqui Dales, of Spar London Road Bakery in Boston, said: “I’m not sure about the annual reports. It could take more time out of my day, which can be used to run my business.”