Shops have warned ministers to rethink their planned deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks containers or risk stoking further inflation.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said other policies on consistent collections and extended producer responsbility should be introduced before the bottles and cans take-back initiative.
Following consultation, the government announced at the start of this year that it would be pressing ahead with a DRS across the UK from 2025.
But the BRC warned that the scheme would cost £1.8 billion per year in capital, labour, operational and cleaning costs.
Retailers said that introducing the DRS at the same time as forcing producers to pay for the cost of managing their waste products would “place upward pressure on consumer prices”.
Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the BRC, described the proposed DRS as “costly” and “complicated”.
“By driving up costs by almost £2 billion per year the government risks pushing up prices for ordinary households, just as inflation is coming down,” he added.
“The government must first introduce its household collection and packaging levy reforms so that it can assess the best way forward on a DRS. On its current course, it will be consumers who will pay the price of this unnecessarily hasty, expensive and complex scheme.”