Tesco has called for the deposit return scheme to be delayed until at least 2025. This letter was sent to Ken Murphy Tesco CEO and Jason Tarry, UK/ROI CEO on the morning of the APRS protest with Fife Street Champions outside a large Tesco store in Fife.
As I am sure you are aware, the deposit return system is due to begin in Scotland on the 1st March 2024.
We understand that Tesco has recently expressed concerns about Scotland launching its deposit return scheme ahead of the rest of the UK and called for a further delay. The Scottish scheme was originally due to begin in April 2021, and has since been delayed three times. Any further delay risks jeopardising the likelihood of deposit return beginning in the rest of the UK. Furthermore, countless businesses, including many SMEs, have already invested in preparations for this scheme. Any further delay would be incredibly damaging to the business landscape in Scotland. In addition, the UK Government themselves described the proposed launch date for the rest of the UK’s scheme as ‘stretching’, and it is likely that this could be delayed even further.
Polling by the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland in April 2023 shows that the majority of Tesco customers support deposit return, something we have seen reflected through our public outreach work.
From an environmental perspective, delays so far will have resulted in 2.7 billion drinks containers being littered, landfilled, or incinerated, and almost 500,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions being released into the atmosphere. Any further delay to the scheme will increase these environmental impacts. We understand that many supermarkets are making efforts to reduce their waste and adopt more environmentally friendly policies, but there is a long way to go. Deposit return schemes have numerous benefits, for communities, the environment, and for businesses. Across the world in the almost 50 jurisdictions where deposit return is already in place, there have been reductions in litter, decreases in carbon emissions, savings to local authorities, and increased recycling rates. Once deposit return is introduced in Scotland next March, these are all benefits we will see.
Everyone is trying to make changes to address the various challenges we face today, including plastic, waste, and the climate crisis. However, some institutions have far more power and responsibility in this. Deposit return schemes are a vital first step towards a more circular, sustainable economy and need to be rolled out without delay. We are calling on you to show your support for Scotland’s deposit return scheme. Your customers support this – you should too.
If you have any questions or concerns we would be happy to meet with you.