What impact could a deposit scheme have on pubs?

By Stuart Stone

- Last updated on GMT

Deposit scheme: the Government has announced it intends to introduce a single-use deposit scheme
Deposit scheme: the Government has announced it intends to introduce a single-use deposit scheme
The hospitality industry has reacted to news that the Government intends to introduce a deposit scheme for single-use glass, plastic bottles, and steel and aluminium cans.

The deposit scheme will increase drinks prices, however, consumers will get the extra cost back if they return the container.

Full details of the scheme are yet to be decided, including how much the deposit will be – though the extra cost to the consumer is expected to be around 20p as it is in Germany.

Need for a united front

UKHospitality (UKH) has warned the Government not to increase costs or restrictions for hospitality businesses through any proposed deposit scheme.

It also called for an opt-out for businesses where drinks are sold on the premises.

UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The Government’s proposal for a deposit scheme highlights the need for a united front from the sector to tackle the problem of packaging waste and avoid additional costs for businesses.

“The hospitality sector recognises the challenge and is already playing an active role in providing solutions, and is not underestimating the importance and cost implications.

“There is, however, a genuine worry that this scheme will simply increase costs for businesses while not providing the action required to tackle packaging waste. Any scheme needs to make a provision and an opt-out for hospitality businesses to ensure they do not incur a disproportionate and massive cost burden that could potentially drive some employers out of business.

“If the Government is serious about tackling the problem of waste, it also needs to ensure that funds generated by the deposit scheme are ring-fenced to provide improved recycling facilities across the UK. UKHospitality will be making this point to the Government, highlighting the positive work already being done by businesses to tackle waste.”

Ensure a scheme works for brewers and pubs

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), commented: “The BBPA’s role as an industry leader in running packaging compliance schemes for many years puts us in a unique position working with the department for environment, food and rural affairs to discuss deposit schemes.

"We will continue to work with the Government to look at the details of any new deposits legislation to make sure that it works for both brewers and small businesses like pubs. It is good to see DEFRA acknowledging that the burden on the hospitality sector must be carefully considered in designing any new scheme.

“It is also good to see DEFRA promising to work with the Scottish Government on a single UK scheme. Whilst the UK does not begin from the same starting position as Scandinavia, most of their deposit schemes are industry led. It is essential that any mandatory approach does not add significant costs for businesses or consumers.

"Any new policy must take into account the cost base of pubs, whilst protecting and enhancing the environment in which we all live.”

Another positive step

Fourpure brewery co-founder Daniel Lowe said: “Using recycled metal for cans requires 95% less energy than raw materials and a can you recycle today could be made into a new can, filled and put back on shelf in just 60 days.

“We welcome this move to increase the amount of cans being recycled as another positive step in reducing the environmental impact of packaging – something we’ve always looked to champion within our industry at Fourpure.

“In a wider sense, recycling plastic bottles and cans via a deposit scheme will considerably reduce the household kerbside recycling collection demands on local authorities and we urge the Government to put those savings back into sustainability initiatives in local communities.

“As a smaller business ourselves, we would hope that this new scheme is managed by retailers as an additional levy at point of sale in a similar way to the plastic bag scheme rather than becoming an administrative burden on smaller producers.”

Fuller’s refill stations

As part of industry-wide recognition that more needs to be done to reduce levels of plastic pollution, Fuller’s Inns has announced that it has registered its 397 pubs with the Refill campaign, a national tap water initiative that aims to make refilling water bottles as convenient as possible by introducing refill stations – becoming the first UK pubco to do so.

Fuller’s Inns managing director Jonathon Swaine said: “This is a fantastic initiative and a great cause. I am thrilled that we are the first pub company to be working with the team at Refill and I am keen to help them spread the word of this campaign.

“It is proving popular in our pubs, with our teams welcoming new customers and giving them another reason to visit a Fuller’s pub.”

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