drs deposit return scheme plastic bottle

Supermarket leaders have called for the deposit return scheme to be delayed by Defra as part of a new “sensible timeframe” for environmental reforms.

A manifesto released by the BRC today includes calls for a “fit for purpose” recycling and waste scheme, which would see DRS put back until after the government has implemented its delayed plans for extended producer responsibility.

The manifesto also calls on ministers to ringfence EPR funding for investment in new recycling infrastructure, to increase recycling rates and the volume of quality materials for reuse and recycling.

The move comes after supermarket bosses released figures last summer claiming DRS would cost at least £1.8bn a year to run. They claimed this would be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices.

The manifesto claims the government has failed to work in a joined-up way with retailers on areas such as the environment, jobs and town centre policies.

Other calls in the manifesto include business rates reform, a shake up of UK planning rules and a crackdown on retail crime.

“As political parties gear up for the next election, we need a different way of working with government so that we can use the industry’s size, scale and reach to deliver more,” said BRC CEO Helen Dickinson.

“By delivering a more business-friendly approach to retail, the industry can deliver on its own vision – a net zero, digitally transformed industry which provides higher-skilled, better-paid jobs and more investment in local communities. It’s time to unleash the industry’s size, scale and reach to drive greater positive change.”