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Defra launches consultation on digital waste tracking

Consultation around digital waste tracking and the future of waste management launched by Defra

The UK Government is committing to the digitisation of waste, strengthening the move towards Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and consistency in collections as part of the Resources and Waste Strategy.

Released by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the consultation seeks views from stakeholders on the initial digital waste tracking proposals, which will then be refined.

Digital tracking services will look to reduce the administrative burdens that exist from a system currently relying on elements of self-regulation and a combination of digital and paper tracking systems, and one that is open to criminal activity and profitability. Defra intends to make it easier for waste carriers to comply with regulations using a central digital system which is also hopes will help to identify rogue operators within the industry.

The government has been in discussion with over 1,200 waste businesses as to what is seen as important for waste tracking and related topics. In 2020, prototypes for electronic waste tracking services were developed as part of the GovTech Catalyst Challenge fund3, providing the groundwork for developing a live service.

Over 200 million tonnes of waste are produced and moved in the UK annually. The separation of this into recycling, energy from waste (EfW) and landfill, and importantly the destinations for these items if exported, should be under further scrutiny.

There is huge importance in the innovation within the resources and waste sector, and digitisation is critical. The highly ambitious plans for UK recycling mean that, unless significant investment and improved data occur, we will not be able to match those ambitions.


Have your say

With the introduction of the Environment Act and the upcoming changes to regulation, now is an opportune time to feedback to government on many of these issues. If you wish to respond to the consultation a link is provided below.

If you are a businesses or organisation involved in the management of waste including local authorities, waste management companies, waste carriers, brokers, dealers, and exporters it would be valuable to understand your insight into proposed introductions and how these would be implemented within the current waste regulations.


The consultation can be viewed here.

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