Another massive waste consultation was open between January and April 2022, all to do with the proposed introduction of mandatory Digital Waste Tracking. A completely separate consultation on the proposed new regime for waste Carrier, Broker and Dealer system was run at a similar time. This made it a big first quarter this year for the waste industry.
The waste tracking consultation closed on 15th April. Did you respond? WPS did, as it was another crucial opportunity to express our views.
This consultation had 55 questions to answer and although WPS agreed in principle with a lot of the questions being raised, we identified some concerns we have relating to the proposal. However, the first question to consider is why? Why is the Government proposing a mandatory Digital Waste Tracking system? Over 200 million tonnes of waste is produced each year but there is no single way of tracking this, the regulations do require tracking, but not in a single, comprehensive and consistent manner, where complete data can inform decision making. The thinking within the consultation is that a single consistent digital waste tracking service can also help prevent mis classification of waste, illegal dumping, fly-tipping and the opportunity for waste crime to occur, as well as a move towards providing opportunities for the circular economy principles to flourish in the waste industry.
Here at WPS we agree with the majority of the proposals, but argue that more clarity is required on:
- End of waste product?
- Are all waste activities to be tracked (i.e. Would burning of waste be exempt from tracking?)
- How are brokers and dealers involved in this process?
- Will data be transferable and readily available to transfer into other systems such as in house KPI systems?
In principle we agree with real time data entry but we were keen to point out there are a lot of barriers to this including:
- Technology and equipment needed to do this – cost of this to waste producers
- Resistance generally to new systems
- Education and IT awareness to do this
- Language barriers
- Training will be required
- Internet access – not always available, which we would see as a big barrier in the construction industry.
- Linking with already used systems (both internal and external systems)
- General competence of the waste carrier bearing in mind currently a dead dog can register as a carrier!
Whichever way you look upon this – a mandatory Digital Waste Tracking system will lead to massive changes within the waste industry. If you are a waste producer, take a moment and consider how quickly could you enter data on the waste you are producing? Immediately? Within 24 hours? Would you want a copy of that data? What would you do if you were late with providing that information?
There is no doubt about it – the waste industry is in for a rocky road of change over the next few years. Watch this space!