Up to £1m of government funding is being awarded to help tackle waste crime in the UK and prevent illegal waste from being shipped abroad.
Digital specialists, Anthesis, and waste analytics company Topolytics have been selected to build prototypes for the UK’s first comprehensive digital waste tracking system.
According to the government, illegal waste activity drains the UK economy of around £600m every year and the current systems for tracking household and commercial waste are outdated.
The two companies will aim to prove the feasibility of using technology to record and track the movements of waste.
The companies will then have the task of creating a UK-wide digitalised system that includes all international waste shipments, tracking waste prior to shipping through to final destination.
According to the government, these prototypes will then enable environmental regulators to analyse and inspect the data.
The Environment Agency Packaging Database recorded that between 2017 and 2018, the UK sent 100,000 tonnes of waste to Malaysia, 80,000 tonnes to Turkey, 70,000 tonnes to Poland and 60,000 to Indonesia.
The commitment to reduce illegal movements of waste at home and abroad was included in the Environment Bill introduced in parliament last week (October 15).
The Bill also included plans to extend producer responsibility, with new charges for other single-use plastic items and clear product labelling to help consumers make purchasing decisions that support the market for more sustainable products.
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: ‘Waste crime causes economic, environmental and social harm in every community it blights.’
‘That’s why our transformative Environment Bill will be a driving force for change, improving the way we manage our waste by creating powers to introduce an electronic waste tracking system.’
The minister for implementation, Simon Hart said: ‘Cutting down on waste is a top concern for the public, so I’m delighted to see these innovative proposals moving forward.’
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