Environment Agency dispels ‘myths’ about edoc system

The Environment Agency (EA), which six months ago launched the electronic duty of care (edoc) system for recording waste transfers, has been ‘dispelling myths’ about the online facility, following concern that people have ‘misconceptions’ about it.

Edoc, which offers a free electronic alternative to waste transfer notes (which, by law, all businesses and contractors must use to record their waste) was developed by the EA – in partnership with the waste sector and government bodies from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – to offer businesses a ‘quick, easy and cost effective way’ of completing and recording the transfer of non-hazardous waste between organisations.

However, since its launch, the EA has said that there are some ‘misconceptions’ about the system.

Victoria Vaughan-Williams from the edoc team at the EA said: “Since launch in January this year, more than 1,400 businesses from a variety of different sectors have registered to use the new edoc system.

“We continue to receive positive feedback about how straightforward the edoc system is to use. Having attended a number of recent industry events we’re also finding we are regularly being asked the same questions. There are some misconceptions out there about how the system works. We want to dispel these myths, and highlight just how simple and effective edoc really is and how it can benefit businesses across the UK.”

According to the edoc team, there are four ‘popular myths’. These are:

  • Myth: You have to pay to use it

Fact: Edoc is free to register to and use

  • Myth: Keeping a paper copy of your record will also be necessary.

Fact: By using edoc, waste handlers will not need to keep paper filling, as the transfer note, and all actions performed on the waste record, will be available online.

  • Myth: A waste regulator, like the Environment Agency, will have unlimited access to edoc.

Fact: The current paper-based system allows for a waste regulator to carry out audits to ensure compliance with duty of care. Edoc is the same, but regulators will send notifications to users when they wish to see waste transfer records. A business will then have seven days to respond (as is the case with paper notes).

  • Myth: Anyone can access data in edoc.

Fact: The information about the volume and type of waste each organisation transfers is only shared with the parties involved in the transfer of that waste. However, national governments and certain trusted organisations such as WRAP have access to an anonymous and redacted snapshot of all waste transfer records held in edoc at a particular time, to ‘meet statutory reporting requirements and to inform design, implementation and monitoring of waste policy’.

The EA is are encouraging all those businesses that produce waste to consider switching to edoc.

Although it is a voluntary system, the Chartered Institute for Wastes Management (CIWM) recently argued that the government should ‘seriously consider’ making edoc mandatory for businesses, as this would ‘not only be beneficial, but fundamental, to waste management in the UK’.

Find out more about edoc.