More than 1,000 businesses are using edoc

More than 1,000 businesses have signed up to use the new electronic duty of care (edoc) system since its launch in January, it has been revealed.

All businesses in the UK have a legal duty of care to deal with waste responsibly, with every transfer of waste from one party to another (e.g. a business to a collection, disposal or recycling contractor, or between contractors where there is more than one step in the chain), having to be documented, agreed and signed by both parties, and a waste transfer note (WTN) record kept for at least two years. 

The free online waste transfer reporting system replaces the need for business to submit WTNs by post (and maintain physical records), thus making the process more efficient, and saving ‘time, effort and money’.

The system allows its users to:

  • create, review, edit, sign and store WTNs securely online;
  • distribute WTNs and relevant documents between the involved parties;
  • view a log of all actions performed on a WTN; and
  • track transfers involving more than one movement.

Developed under a four-year project co-financed by the European Commission (through LIFE+ funding) and led by the Environment Agency (EA) in partnership with the waste sector and government bodies from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, edoc aims to replace 23 million paper notes a year.

Last year, it was estimated that 72 per cent of large- or medium-sized waste operators were in favor of the digital switch.

’The whole process is just greener, cheaper and trouble-free’

Speaking of the level of uptake to date, Chris Deed, edoc Programme Manager at the Environment Agency, said: “We are delighted with the response we’ve had on edoc so far.  It’s not a mandatory system, but it is free to use.

“The level of interest we have had from businesses and organisations from a cross-section of sectors indicates that people understand, accept and embrace the system and the wide range of benefits it can offer.”

Businesses currently using the system include waste management company Grundon, whose Compliance Manager Toni Robinson, said: “We are currently in the process of switching over to edoc and are committed to encouraging all our clients to enroll and be actively using the new online system by the end of this year.

“We issue around 2,000 waste transfer notes each month so being able to use the new online system in order to issue them is much more efficient, simpler and easier than through the old paper system. It is also much easier for our customers to edit, sign and share the notes and we are able to review and accept any changes made at the touch of button. The whole process is just greener, cheaper and trouble-free, as well as helping us meet our environmental goals by reducing the amount of paper we use.”

The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) has also voiced support of the system, with Tina Benfield, Senior Technical Advisor saying: “We switched over to edoc as soon as it launched in January this year and since then, because we have had to weigh the amount of waste we produce each week for our collections, we have started to monitor more closely what we have been throwing away.

“As a result we have noticed that using edoc has made us all even more mindful of our waste and our overall waste production each week has decreased.”

Read more about the electronic duty of care.