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Online waste transfer note system welcomed by industry

The majority of medium and large waste firms have said they support the Environment Agency’s (EA) electronic duty of care (edoc) system to record transfer notes online.

The edoc system will be rolled out in January 2014 and is free to use. An Ipsos MORI poll for the EA found 72% of waste operators said they were “keen to use edoc” rather than their current paper-based system, but the service is not mandatory.

The survey comprised more than 1,800 phone interviews with environmental managers from the waste, construction, agriculture, food and drink manufacturing, healthcare providers and retail sectors, as well as 24 face-to-face interviews.

Chris Deed, edoc programme manager at the EA, said: 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.”

Waste transfer notes (WTNs) are issued whenever waste is transferred from one party to another, such as from a business to a collection, disposal or recycling contractor, or between contractors where there is more than one step in the chain. The notes must be kept for at least two years.

It is estimated that 23 million paper WTNs are produced across the UK each year, which means close to 50 million in storage at any one time.

The advantages of the new system include improving the data on waste available to help future planning for waste at local and national levels.

edoc claims that the system could replace the need for costly business waste surveys, saving governments around £1m per year.

The edoc IT service provider, IPL, said its web based document management system will save EA over £10m a year.

Barry Dennis, director general of the Environmental Services Association (ESA), said the new system will have a “huge impact on the industry”, making the process of recording transfer notes more efficient and effective. He said the ESA will be supporting the implementation of Edoc across the waste industry.

Bernard Amos, chief executive at retail consultants Helistrat, said:  “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. We have well over a quarter of a million paper WTNs that we have to scan and it will save our teams a great deal of time when it all goes electronic.’

edoc is co-financed by the European Commission (LIFE+).

The UK-wide project is led by the Environment Agency with partnership with the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), Reconomy (UK) Ltd, Welsh Government and WRAP. The project is supported by Defra and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

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