Defra is collecting feedback on easing the Waste Transfer Note (WTN) system for businesses that do not use electronic reporting.
It is also consulting on amending other waste transfer regulations.
The department estimates that as much of 80% of WTNs will be issued through the Electronic Duty of Care (edoc) system after it is introduced in January 2014.
But for the “minority of businesses” that will continue to use the traditional paper based system, the department suggests companies could provide a written description of waste on documentation other than a WTN, such as invoices, orders and receipts.
The consultation follows the proposals on environmental issues put forward in March 2012 as part of the Government’s initiative to decrease the burden of potentially unnecessary regulations on businesses, the Red Tape Challenge.
“The Red Tape Challenge stated that it is burdensome for some small businesses to fill in WTNs,” said Defra. “In response the Government is proposing greater flexibility around WTNs.”
The department is also asking companies what would encourage them to move to edoc. It says edoc is estimated to provide a saving of £7.8 - £13.4m a year by reducing the time and effort to create, store and retrieve WTNs.
The Environment Agency said it welcomed Defra’s consultation on alternatives to the current system.
Edoc programme manager Chris Deed (left), said: “The whole ethos behind edoc is to create a simple, cost-effective means for businesses to comply with the duty of care for waste. Millions of individual business waste transfers are recorded every year, using up paper and taking up costly space, not to mention the administrative headache of filing, storing and searching for individual records if they are needed.”
Steve Lee, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Wastes Management (CIWM), said: “As well as saving time and money on administration, edoc has a far bigger and more important role to play in the long term. It will give businesses the ability to understand and interrogate their own waste data and identify opportunities to improve resource efficiency, reduce waste and cut disposal costs.
“These are benefits that will impact positively on the bottom line and improve competitiveness.”
Other proposals in the consultation include amending the timeframe in which waste carriers can provide proof of registration with environment agencies in the event of being stopped.
It also proposes additional convictions in the list that agencies use to refuse or revoke a waste carrier, broker or dealer registration. This is to reflect the introduction of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act, among others.
The consultation is aimed at, but not limited to, people or businesses that either transfers or receives controlled waste in England and Wales.
Defra has published a list of 760 consultees (see file right).
The consultation document can be found here. The consultation closes on 20 January 2014.