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ESA says duty of care enforcement needed

The Environmental Services Association (ESA) has said that enforcement is needed to drive duty of care compliance, as it prepares for the launch of an awareness campaign in March.

The ‘Right Waste, Right Place’ campaign, led by the organisation, will aim a website and other materials at SMEs in its first phase, which is funded by the Environment Agency.

The second phase, jointly funded by the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) and the Environmental Services Association Education Trust (ESAET), will target specific sectors when it launches in June, initially construction and agriculture.

ESA head of regulation Sam Corp told MRW: “It was agreed that those two, plus possibly retail and DIY markets, would be beneficial to look at as awareness is quite low and there was good uptake from [representatives of these] sectors.

“We’re working very closely with associations but the campaign products will include a bespoke website, which will have lots of information and interactive content, guidance, best practice, simple guidance for waste producers to access and download.”

He said the site is still being built but will be promoted across communication streams when it launches, with a PR company pushing to get as much coverage as possible.

While the website will underpin the campaign, ESA and CIWM members will be stepping up their efforts to get the message out at events and workshops when the campaign launches.

They are also looking at producing Top Trump-style cards for specific waste streams to give people simple information about what they can best do with that particular waste. They are considering using an app to promote that aspect.

Corp said there was no specific uptake target set for the campaign because it was difficult to measure. But they would be measuring hits on websites and content downloaded.

The campaign is using Suez research that shows 56% of SMEs are not complying with duty of care but 90% of these did want to do so. Lack of awareness was a bigger reason for non-compliance than cost or complexities, Corp said.

He said while the ESA supported the electronic duty of care (edoc), it has not been pushing for it to be made mandatory because a number of association members have their own electronic systems, “which work perfectly well”.

“There needs to be the potential for regulators to enforce if necessary in a proportionate way to make sure duty of care is complied with,” he added.

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