UKHospitality – The Deposit Return Scheme Must Be Workable for Pubs, Hotels, Cafés and Restaurants

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 said 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.

UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls said: “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. 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.

“Hospitality businesses have an admirable record on recycling. 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. We will continue to work with Government over the coming years to ensure that the scheme works for the sector.’’

In its submission, the body 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.

UKHospitality has also responded to the Government consultation on Extended Producer Responsibility, calling for significant simplification of the scheme. There should be a single point of administration and payment for packaging entering the market and this should be focused on the actual producer or importer of the packaging, it said.