ACS has told MPs that a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles would be costly to implement, difficult for retailers to manage and unlikely to be widely used by consumers.

Chief executive James Lowman was giving evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee, which is currently looking at ways to reduce littering and increase plastic bottle recycling from the current rate of 74%. The committee is gathering information on current manufacturing methods and the recycling infrastructure, and the effectiveness of deposit schemes that have been implemented in other countries.

Lowman said: ““We have significant concerns about the retail impact of a deposit return scheme, both operationally for retailers and their staff that would have to manage the scheme in store, and in terms of cost if a scheme were to be introduced through a network of large, expensive reverse vending machines.

“Littering that occurs as a result of people buying products on-the-go at a location that is most convenient to them is unlikely to be solved by a deposit return scheme, as consumers are unlikely to want to inconvenience themselves by diverting to a different location to return bottles and receive a deposit return. We know that overall, consumers prefer to use their home-based kerbside recycling facilities and it’s that area that the Government should be focusing on making more efficient before imposing additional burdens on retailers.”

ACS will be submitting additional written evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee on 30 October.