UKHospitality: Deposit Return Scheme would place 'disproportionate burden' on sector

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

UKHospitality: Deposit Return Scheme recycling proposal would place 'disproportionate burden' on hospitality sector

Related tags Recycling Government ukhospitality

Safety and space concerns, increased business costs and bureaucracy caused by the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) would place a 'disproportionate burden' on many hospitality businesses, UKHospitality has warned.

In its response to the Government’s proposal on the scheme, the trade body recommends that DRS should target those parts of the economy where recycling levels are low and that result in littering.

“We support the principle and aims of a DRS system, and believe that it could be an effective vehicle to improve recycling rates across the UK," says Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality.

"However, such a scheme must not overly burden hospitality businesses, which are in a fragile state following more than a year of punitive restrictions to trading.

"We welcome the proposals that would exempt certain parts of hospitality from acting as a return point, but have some concern as to how this may impact businesses like cafés and QSR restaurants that operate some takeaway services."

The Government has long-been planning to introduce a DRS system, with ministers confirming in last month's Queen's Speech that a scheme could potentially be implemented by 2024.

A consultation looking at the specifics of how the scheme could work concluded on Friday (4 June).

In its submission, UKHospitality stated its concerns over safety for consumers and staff of businesses acting as a recycling drop off point, which would force venues to operate an open access policy to anyone coming in off the street – running contrary to best practice for managing venues safely.

Its response also highlighted to Government that many hospitality businesses simply do not have adequate space to act as return points and that including glass in the scheme will cause the sector a number of issues, not least around safety of its staff and consumers.

“Hospitality businesses have an admirable record on recycling," adds Nicholls.

"The packaging tends to stay within the premises so there should be no extra obligation to charge deposits or to have to install return points.

"Any return scheme should focus measures on parts of the economy where recycling levels are low.

“The scheme should be as simple as current recycling and waste management schemes, and the various proposed schemes across the UK must be as closely linked as is possible in order to make it easier for businesses and consumers, and to limit the potential for fraud.

"[UKHospitality] will continue to work with Government over the coming years to ensure that the scheme works for the sector.’’

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