Retailers say that forcing them to take on recycling costs will increase household bills in the U.K. by £140 a year. The Telegraph has more.
Green levies due to be imposed from next year will increase food prices within months, pushing up total shopping bills by up to £4 billion a year, retailers have warned, as senior Tories urged Rishi Sunak to drop the “nonsensical” plans.
In an open letter to the Telegraph, the British Retail Consortium suggests that a scheme to charge retailers and manufacturers for the cost of councils recycling their packaging will increase the cost of household goods when it is rolled out from April next year.
The levy was devised by Michael Gove during his time as Environment Secretary and billed as helping the U.K. to reduce waste and meet its Net Zero target, alongside a separate scheme to introduce a returnable deposit system for the purchase of drinks bottles and cans.
Taken together, the schemes could increase household shopping bills by up to £140 per year, based on the consortium’s estimate of an overall £4 billion cost.
Officials say the funds raised from retailers will go towards the operation and improvement of local council recycling services, with the fees acting as an incentive for firms to use less packaging.
But the Government’s official impact assessments of the two schemes – seen by the Telegraph – acknowledge that the entire cost due to fall on retailers could simply be passed on to consumers. The scheme – formally called the Extended Producer Responsibility – would “most likely” increase household bills by £40 a year, or up to £48, according to an official assessment produced in February 2022, before soaring inflation that will have increased those figures even further.
The separate “deposit return scheme” for bottles and cans will add up to 4p to the cost of bottled drinks from next year, a separate impact assessment stated. It is intended to incentivise consumers to recycle containers, through a system of returnable cash deposits. The future of an equivalent scheme in Scotland is in doubt over the Westminster Government’s refusal to allow Holyrood to include glass bottles in the scheme.
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