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Retailers demand scrapping of ‘£2bn’ waste strategy policy fearing it will increase costs

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The UK’s largest retailers are urging the government to scrap its waste strategy policy, or risk forcing prices up for consumers who are already facing a cost of living crisis.

A draft letter obtained by Sky News, which it is understood will be sent to government officials next week, outlines industry concerns about the costs associated with new packaging and bottle recycling measures.

The letter, written by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), urges the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to intervene with the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to “redesign a deposit return scheme that is close to being introduced in Scotland and would subsequently be extended south of the border”.

An excerpt shows industry bodies pleading with the PM to adopt “a more pragmatic approach” to the government’s waste strategy.

Currently, deposit return schemes are used across the world as a way of encouraging more people to recycle drinks containers, such as bottles and cans.

They charge anyone who buys a drink a small deposit for the bottle or can that it comes in.

In Scotland, the new scheme which is set to be introduced in August, will see people pay a 20p deposit when they buy a drink that comes in a single-use container made of PET plastic, steel and aluminium, or glass.

Consumers will get their money back when they return the empty container return points which will be set up across the country.

“The current policy proposal will add to inflationary pressures and fail to deliver a fit for purpose scheme,” the draft letter, which is rumoured to be signed by retail bosses of major UK supermarkets, read.

“It will significantly increase the costs of packaging which, in the current economic climate, will increase prices for consumers, without seeing the desired increase in recycling,” the plea continued.

The industry body also warned that the return scheme will add another £2bn to industry costs.

In the draft letter the BRC said:”We would also ask you to raise our concerns on the design of DRS with Defra, where we have struggled to convince ministers of the need for pragmatic implementation that works with the businesses which will deliver it.

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