Retail NI Expresses Concern Over Plastic Bottle Return Scheme

Retail NI has expressed concerns about the impact that deposit return schemes would have on its members and overall recycling rates following today’s announcement from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Michael Gove on a consultation for such a scheme.

While the Ministers announcement is for England, it is likely that the consultation could be extended to Northern Ireland.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“The UK government is rightly considering ways to increase recycling rates and reduce the amount of litter on our streets, but we do not believe the introduction of a deposit return scheme that forces retailers to take back bottles and cans is the right answer. The Deposit Return Scheme will have a significant negative impact on our members who do not have the space in store to install expensive reverse vending machines, and for those who would have to collect the bottles manually, this would cause significant queues and potential flashpoints in store”

“Retail NI members have a strong environmental track record in administrating the Carrier Bag levy, sourcing local food which cuts down on food miles and investing in green technology in their stores”

“We would urge the Government to think of the impact this would have on small independent retailers who contribute a huge amount to our local economy and encourage them to continue looking at more effective ways to tackle the problem of plastic recycling.”

Note To Editors:

A survey of 1,210 UK independent retailers in the UK found that 71% thought a deposit return scheme would be impractical to implement due to the space that it would require in their stores. 

Populus polling of 2,000 consumers in the UK found that 70% would prefer to use kerbside household recycling facilities over a deposit return system for bottles and cans. The survey also found that the top three reasons given for why consumers would increase their recycling rate were:

• If more packaging was recyclable (37%)

• If packaging was more clearly labelled as recyclable (35%) and

• If household recycling collections took a greater range of recyclable goods (29%)

In comparison, only 9% of consumers in Populus’ polling said that they would recycle more if a deposit return scheme was introduced.

Glyn Roberts 07515710517