Retailers in England could face a fresh challenge after the UK government confirmed it is considering a bottle deposit scheme mirroring one to be introduced in Scotland.  

The confirmation comes as both the Daily Mail and The Sun newspapers reported environment minister Michael Gove was due to make an announcement on plans this week.

However, when contacted by RN, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs said ministers ‘will announce a decision in due course’.

Under the scheme, retailers could refund customers manually at the till or host ‘reverse vending machines’, which take back the empty drinks bottles and refund shoppers their deposits.

Nicola Ransome, of Welton’s in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, said: “I don’t think it will hit sales – if shoppers want a drink, they will buy one. Space is always an issue, however. I don’t know how practical it will be for smaller retailers to host a vending machine.”

Despite growing pressure to cut down on plastics waste, UK sales of bottled drinks are forecast to grow 6.1% between 2018 and 2022, consultancy Zenith Global predicted this month.