The Government has been urged to create an opt-out to its proposed plastic bottle deposit scheme.

UKHospitality warned that any scheme must take into account hospitality businesses that may be disproportionately hit by a cost for single-use packaging.

Meanwhile Pret A Manger chief executive, Clive Schlee, talked to MCA about the logistical challenges of its trial of the scheme in Brighton, which launches on 6 April.

He said the group was separately working on introducing vending machines to facilitate refunds but I the meantime was working out how the scheme would affect customers and staff.

He said: “We know there is an appetite to do this but we have to be clear about how it will work, particularly around dine-in customers. Are they buying their bottles and then having to go back to get their refund. If so, do they want cash? Is there a way of them giving the bottle back without the staff having to be involved? We want to speed up that second trip if possible. We want to find out if 10p is enough to make them bother or not.

“It’s not ideal dealing with 10p in cash but you have to start somewhere. It would be ideal to start with a vending machine all set up but we are going to test that somewhere.”

UKHospitality 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 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 ringfenced 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.”