Waste sector backs e-transfer notes

24th June 2013

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  • Pollution & Waste Management



More than two-thirds of big waste companies support new online system to replace paper waste transfer notes, reveals Environment Agency

The “edoc” system, which the agency has been developing with the waste industry and regulators in Scotland and Northern Ireland over the past four years, is due to go live in January 2014 and will provide firms with a free online portal to complete and submit waste transfer notes (WTNs).

Under UK law, businesses must complete a WTN for every load of waste transported from one party to another. Currently, 23 million paper WTNs are created each year and 50 million are stored for reference.

The edoc system will, according to the Environment Agency, not only cut the costs associated with the storage of paper documents, but also help to reduce the time spent completing, filing and searching for forms, as well as improve the quality of data held by regulators.

The website will include pick-lists, drop-down menus, prompts and templates to make it easy for users to complete WTNs. It will also provide businesses with access to tools to examine their waste data and identify efficiencies.

While the UK-wide system will not be mandatory, the agency hopes that its time and cost benefits will encourage firms to go online.

Bernard Amos, chief executive at waste management firm and consultancy Helistrat, whose clients include Marks & Spencer, backs the scheme: “The edoc system is a brilliant idea and I’d encourage all companies to take it up.

“It’s quicker, easier to trace and will help prevent fraud by removing the opportunity for people to take advantage of the revenue from waste,” he said. “It will also be hugely time-saving. We have well over 250,000 paper WTNs that we have to scan and it will save our teams a great deal of time when it all goes electronic.”

Chris Deed, edoc programme manager at the Environment Agency, said: “We are aiming to provide a modern means of recording waste transfers that reduces the administrative burden on businesses.

“We surveyed the six sectors for which UK waste compliance has particular impact and found the majority of businesses were keen to take up the new online edoc system. It’s a simple system to use, with so many benefits, and we want to help every business who takes its environmental responsibilities seriously to make the change to edoc.”

The Environment Agency interviewed more than 1,800 managers across the waste, retail, construction, healthcare, food and drink manufacturing and agricultural sectors, and found that of the large and medium-sized waste companies surveyed, 72% supported the switch to the electronic system.

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