New cross-sector initiative to tackle waste crime is announced

The UK’s Waste Compliance Taskforce (WACT) is set to be launched at the Waste Crime Conference later this week (22 October).

The WACT is an association of public and private regulators, trade associations, businesses, landowners and charities, joining forces to tackle the biggest issues in the waste and recycling sector.

WACT logoMembers of WACT include the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, RECOUP, Canal and River Trust, Environment Agency, Wood Recyclers’ Association, CIWM and Network Rail.

Among the key aims of the Taskforce are to improve awareness of and compliance with waste regulations, in order to combat waste crime. WACT will also seek to engage environmental regulators and policy-makers in discussion about preventing waste crime, as well as gain understanding about the challenges of certain waste streams.

Stuart Foster, CEO of plastics charity RECOUP, Fellow of the CIWM and Chair of WACT, said: “Waste crime is the scourge of our industry. It’s estimated that it costs the UK economy around £1 billion a year but it also potentially puts lives at risk and erodes the public’s trust in the waste and recycling sector.

“It’s crucial that we all come together now to tackle this from every angle so that the organised criminals who are making money out of illegal activities involving the UK’s waste are stopped once and for all.”

Another aspect of WACT’s remit will be to gather and share intelligence about waste crime. This will involve partnership with the victims of waste crime, such as landowners, as well as working with waste producers, which can unwittingly be caught up and connected with illegal activities.

Working groups will also include discussions with insurance brokers to explore potential new products and policies in the waste sector, the introduction of the deposit return scheme (DRS) and on plastic waste exports.

Sam Corp, Head of Regulation at the Environmental Services Association (ESA), which is a member of WACT, said: “ESA is pleased to support the work of the Taskforce which chimes with our own work on tackling waste crime by raising awareness of and compliance with waste regulations, promoting proactive and effective enforcement and supporting policy makers to develop more effective ways to help keep the criminals out of our sector.”