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Reconomy welcomes DEFRA proposals on fighting waste crime and mandatory waste tracking

  • Reconomy welcomes commitment to drive better standards in waste management and create a comprehensive, centralised system for tracking waste

A raft of reforms published over the weekend by DEFRA are to be welcomed in the fight against waste crime and driving up standards in the waste management sector according to Reconomy, a leading global circular economy specialist providing sustainability technology, data and services to a broad range of industries.

The two key areas of the legislation focus firstly on waste crime1, where the government is looking to address weaknesses in the current system that make it hard for regulators to target high risk, illegal waste operators.

The new proposals provide a wider level of regulatory tools, greater flexibility and funding around enforcement and compliance monitoring activities, thus providing stronger powers to fight waste crime. Crucially, DEFRA plans to target those illegal operators handling the greatest volumes of waste, with the introduction of a tiered permitting system that differentiates by activity and scale.

Separate proposals2 also seek to introduce a mandatory digital waste tracking service to make it simpler to track waste and resources produced from waste throughout the economy and enable users to provide the right information at the right time. The UK-wide digital waste tracking service requirements will replace the existing requirements to complete waste transfer notes and hazardous waste consignment notes.

In terms of timelines, the waste tracking service will become publicly available in 2024 on a voluntary basis – this is likely to happen in phases with specific groups being invited to use the service over time. From April 2025 legislation will come into mandatory force across the UK, subject to parliamentary approval.

Michael Benton, Managing Director of Reconomy’s Recycle division, commented:

“We welcome the government’s proactive steps to fight waste crime and drive ever-increasing standards in terms of traceability and data in the waste sector. Poor practise needs to be eradicated and these proposals provide a far stronger arsenal for the regulator to combat high-risk operators so we can eliminate waste crime in this country.

The mandatory digital waste tracking service creates a cohesive UK-wide system to begin tracking the over 200 million tonnes of waste produced every year. Dynamic, accurate data underpinned by innovative technology lies at the heart of robust management of supply chains and waste which can drive a thriving circular economy in the UK so these reforms mark an exciting step forward.

Reconomy has been providing data to support the development of digital waste tracking and we believe this will lead to improved outcomes in moving materials higher up the waste hierarchy to protect the environment. The proposals will also increase visibility for our customers and all waste producers, which will help demonstrate the tangible benefits of more efficient waste management practises.”