Waste management, business and local authority delegates were given an exclusive preview of the online recording facility for waste transfer notes (WTNs) ahead of its January 2014 launch, at the RWM show in Birmingham yesterday (September 11).
The Electronic Duty of Care (Edoc) tool, which has been developed by the Environment Agency in partnership with the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) is designed to reduce the administrative costs for businesses obligated to produce WTNs each time waste is transferred from one party to another, with the resulting paper document required to be kept for at least two years.
The voluntary electronic system is intended to make it easier for businesses to track their waste and record waste data, as well as offering functions including a simple to use archive to retrieve WTNs for auditing or compliance purposes and email notifications when actions are required.
But, concerns were raised that edoc could create a two-tier system for transfer notes as it is currently only planned to cover domestic movements of non-hazardous waste, while paper consignment notes will still have to be raised for hazardous waste and for cross border movements of material.
When questioned whether a timescale had been set for the addition of hazardous waste movements into the framework, the organisers said that they would monitor the initial success of the tool before considering if it should be rolled out across other areas.
The developers also offered reassurance that users data would be kept confidentially, and would only be available to the Environment Agency upon request.
‘There is clearly an apetite for a new, easier and more effective way to record waste transfers and we are keen to capitalise on the interest that is out there.’
Mat Crocker, Environment Agency
Giving delegates a first glimpse of the system Mat Crocker, head of illegals and waste at the Environment Agency said that the tool would ease the administrative headache for businesses required to fill out transfer notes.
He said: Around 23 million new WTNs are produced every year and have to be stored for two years, adding up to a huge amount of wasted paper, not to mention the administrative headache they can cause in terms of filing, storage and retrieval.
We have been extremely encouraged by the response to todays event. There is clearly an appetite for a new, easier and more effective way to record waste transfers and we are keen to capitalise on the interest that is out there.
Meanwhile, CIWM chief executive Steve Lee urged businesses and firms in the waste management industry to make use of the free to use tool when it goes live in 2014 adding that it will offer benefits beyond reducing administrative costs.
He said: We support the production of Edoc because we are confident that it will allow businesses across the UK to carry out a wide range of tasks which will help to modernise and streamline waste transfer recordings in the future.
In fact it is thought that Edoc could replace the need for costly business waste surveys, saving governments around 1 million per annum. We welcome the change and look forward to its launch in January 2014.
The session also heard from Brian Handcock, head of sustainability at construction group Morgan Sindall, and Bernard Amos, chief executive of waste consultancy Helistrat, both of whom said their companies would look to use Edoc once it goes live, adding that the system is long overdue.
The scheme is being developed under a four year project with around 5 million in funding from the European Comissions LIFE+ fund, with technical input from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), Reconomy, Welsh Government and Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP).