New national online waste transfer system claims to offer retailers a whole host of benefits


NK2 - Waste Audit

Retailers across the UK can now benefit from the new online system called edoc (or electronic duty of care) to record the transfer of non-hazardous waste between organisations, saving them both time and money.

UK retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers generated an estimated 6.5m tonnes of waste in 2011. Of this the retail sector produced 1.2m tonnes of waste packaging and 0.4m tonnes of food waste. Looking for opportunities to prevent or reduce waste within an individual site or business and across supply chains can help any retail business to become more resource efficient.

Free to use but not mandatory, edoc offers retailers with a modern, quick and easy alternative to the exchange of paper waste transfer notes (WTNs). That’s not the only benefit to using it. It will also provide retailers with the tools they need to manage and store data on their waste production with a view to helping them to make quantitative reductions in their retail, packaging and food waste.

Waste management consultancy Helistrat has adopted edoc to manage the waste production of its clients including those in the retail sector such as Marks & Spencer.

Helistrat’s compliance manager, Mark Allison, said: “The best thing about adopting edoc is that it has helped us to make improvements in our compliance and data reporting capabilities. It has also helped us to streamline our administration, reduce our costs and ensure the whole process is much quicker and more efficient for our clients.”

The retail sector is starting to think differently about waste and some retailers are already engaged in using models that recognise the economic value in the waste they produce.

With ready access to their waste data, edoc offers retailers with the perfect solution to easily monitor and interrogate the waste they produce and make better informed decisions. For example, where to cut disposal costs but more importantly identify opportunities to improve efficiency, recycle packaging where possible and even prevent waste.

Allison said:“At a time where sustainability and waste production are at the forefront of every business, edoc provides an ideal solution for managing its reduction.”

There is also strong support for the system from outside the business community. The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) released its Third Report “Growing a circular economy: Ending the throwaway society” at the beginning of August. This recognised the significant role that the edoc system could have in making available data on waste generated by commerce and industry in the UK.

The Committee also noted the impact better data could have on resource management in the future, and called on government to set a deadline for edoc to become the mandatory system for recording waste transfers.

Chris Deed, edoc programme manager at the Environment Agency, said: “We are pleased that the latest report from the EAC has identified not only the substantial benefits that edoc carries but also the fundamental impact it could have on the availability of data on waste production.”

“Edoc has the capability of improving the quality of information we currently have on not only the volume and type of waste that is being produced, but also the resources contained in the waste. Edoc has a role to play in helping businesses, the waste industry and governments to adopt, promote and support better waste and resource management.”

Edoc has been developed under a four year project co-financed by the European Commission (LIFE+). The UK-wide project is led by the Environment Agency in partnership with the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), Reconomy (UK) Ltd, Welsh Government and WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme). The project also has the full support of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

Retailers interested in edoc can register or find out more at