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Managing waste in the 21st Century – Just what the edoc ordered

James Beard
Oct 30, 2014

Those of you who deal with company waste will be familiar with Waste Transfer Notes (WTNs). For those of you who don’t know what these are, they’re important records of the waste a company has generated and who it is then passed on to for treatment and have historically been documented on paper.

This may seem absurd and archaic, especially as they’re documents used within the waste management industry. It is estimated that 23 million WTNs are generated in the UK each year and each document has to be stored for a minimum of two years! That is a lot of paper that will eventually need to be recycled, not to mention the storage space required.

Introducing edoc

However, there is good news. The Waste Transfer Note system has undergone some major surgery and in January 2014 the Environment Agency introduced the edoc system, which is a voluntary, free and secure alternative to using paper.

edoc will allow users to:

  • Create one off WTNs and Season Tickets (annual WTN) online
  • Share, review, edit, sign and archive WTNs
  • Receive automatic email notifications when something requires the user’s attention
  • Track changes made to edoc and by whom
  • Search sort and retrieve data with just a few clicks

However, there are a two important points to note:

  1. edoc is not linked to any Waste Licence Databases, which means that the responsibility to check out the suitability of end markets will remain with the user
  2. edoc currently only applies to WTNs, which means that it does not include Hazardous Waste Consignment Notes or other waste and recycling related paperwork, such as Exporter’s Annex VII forms

That said could the edoc system be adapted to include other waste and recycling related documents given time? I think that this is a possibility and would certainly help to further reduce the administrative burden on companies.

Cost savings

Although edoc is a voluntary scheme it is estimated that up to 80% of all WTNs will be migrated to edoc, as users will be driven mostly by cost savings.

Calculations have revealed that edoc will save nearly 50% on the cost of traditional WTNs, partly due to cost savings on storage (total saving to UK business of up to £13.4 million per year). The system will also save time and costs due to the relative ease of administration.

Valpak’s Recycling Services Team are looking to replace paper based WTNs with edoc in November 2014 and we will be contacting our customers soon with details of how to register. There’s life in the edoc yet.

For more information about edoc please visit: edoconline.co.uk. Alternatively, please contact a member of Valpak’s Recycling Services Team on 08450 682 572.


Note
Edoc is co-financed by the European Commission (LIFE +) and is being delivered by Environment Agency.

WRAP, along with Chartered Institute of Waste Management (CIWM), Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), Reconomy UK, Welsh Government, Defra and SEPA are all supporting the programme.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this weblog represent those of the individual authors and not those of Valpak Limited or any other organisation.