A survey conducted by Ipsos MORI showed that 72% of large or medium-sized waste operators were in favour of using an online system developed by the Environment Agency called edoc (electronic duty of care).

An alternative to paper Waste Transfer Notes (WTNs), the project is due to be rolled out in January 2014.

Although the use of edoc will not be mandatory, the Welsh Government, which is backing the project, claims that it could save authorities about £1m a year by replacing the need for costly business waste surveys.

Edoc is aimed at saving businesses time and money spent filing and searching for records manually, while also reducing paper and cutting down on storage.

It is estimated that approximately 23 million paper WTNs, which are often incomplete or difficult to read, are produced across the UK each year.

Environment Agency edoc programme manager Chris Deed said: “With edoc, we are aiming to provide a modern means of recording waste transfers that reduces the administrative burden on businesses.

“We surveyed the six sectors for which UK waste compliance has a 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, with so many benefits, and we want to help every business who takes its environmental responsibilities seriously to make the change to edoc.”

Edoc is being developed under a four-year project co-financed by the European Commission. The UK-wide project is led by the Environment Agency with partnership from the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), Reconomy (UK), the Welsh Government and WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme).

The project is also backed by Defra and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

Environmental Services Association (ESA) director general Barry Dennis said: “The new edoc system is set to have a huge impact in the waste industry. It overhauls the current paper-based system and transfers it online which will make the process more efficient and effective.”

Conor McGlone

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