The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has urged the government not to tax retailers when considering measures to reduce single use plastics.

In its submission to HM Treasury’s consultation on reducing single-use plastic, the ACS raised concerns about the potential impact of a tax at retailer or consumer level, highlighting the importance of ensuring that the introduction of a tax would not burden retailers or their customers.

It highlights the work that retailers are already doing to reduce the impact of single use plastics in their stores. The introduction of a voluntary charge for single use plastic bags has been well received in the convenience sector as almost half (42%) now voluntarily charge for plastic bags in store, while many retailers now only provide bags for life for customers and have stopped the distribution of single use plastic bags altogether.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “All parts of the supply chain have a role to play, from suppliers to retailers and consumers when it comes to reducing the impact of single use plastics, but it is clear that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the problem.

“We encourage the government to continue looking at innovative and sustainable ways to reduce single use plastics, but would caution against any measures that result in what would effectively be taxing retailers and/or consumers twice on the same products.”

The ACS has also encouraged the government to consider other interventions that could be taken to encourage consumers to recycle.

Research commissioned by ACS in 2017 - consisting of three focus groups across the UK and polling of 2,000 UK adults - found that consumers would be more likely to recycle more if:

  • more packaging was recyclable (37%)
  • packaging was more clearly labelled as recyclable (35%)
  • collections from their home took a greater range of recycled goods (29%)
  • all types of recyclable materials could be place in on bin (28%)