GettyImages-1160398334 (2)

The government has been called on not to rush sustainability schemes but rather focus on getting the details right.

In its submission to a government committee inquiry on waste, resources and recycling reforms, the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), highlighted the need for proper lead times and planning for initiatives such as the Deposit Return Schemes, extended producer responsibility, and single use plastic bans.

As well as welcoming necessary delays in the introduction of these measures, the ACS set out four pillars for how an environmentally and financially sustainable deposit return scheme could work.

  1. An interoperability plan to ensure the scheme works across the UK’s four nations.
  2. Draft regulations laid before parliament with significant lead time to the proposed go-live date.
  3. A commitment from government to underwrite finances for setting up a DMO (Deposit Management Organisation).
  4. A timeline that properly reflects the time needed for industry to prepare.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The Government is taking the right steps toward ensuring a more sustainable future, but it’s absolutely essential that significant changes and new infrastructure like that which will be needed under a deposit return scheme are given enough time and scrutiny to get the details right. We cannot risk rushing out half-baked policies that could end up harming retailers, consumers, the industry and ultimately the environment.”

The trade body also raised concerns to the Committee about the lack of communication provided by the government ahead of the single use plastics ban in October of this year. It warned that single-use plastic plates, bowls, trays, containers, cutlery and balloon sticks will be banned in England in just two months’ time, but stressed that to date the government’s communication to retailers on how they can adapt their businesses has been “severely lacking”.