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Defra seeks 'transformative' digital waste tracker

The Government claims that its smart waste tracking challenge, which seeks to find a digital technology company that can devise a viable system, will create an accurate picture of the flow of waste within the UK.

An information pack issued by Defra said the winning idea must use digital technology to record and track individual movements of waste through the economy.

This would show the types and amounts of waste generated, who is handling it, how it is treated and where it ends up.

Defra described the work as “potentially a transformative project that has the power to change behaviour”.

If a viable system is found, the Government will work with its designers to bring it to fruition. Data would be used by the four UK governments and their environment agencies to regulate waste.

In information for potential bidders, the four agencies admitted they lacked “an accurate picture of what waste is actually out there” and that their datasets “are too numerous and sit in isolation”.

This was despite there being “too much administrative burden on regulators and stakeholders”.

A winning system would have a simple interface to allow stakeholders to record their waste movements, and provide for “an end to stakeholders having to submit waste summary returns each quarter or complete waste data flow system”.

Defra said any new system is expected to help tackle waste crime by highlighting waste that ‘disappears’ from the chain, unexplained changes of descriptions and “timings and patterns of transfers that don’t make sense”.

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