In just over one month businesses from across the UK will be able to switch over to edoc – the innovative new national online system to record waste transfers.
For most businesses in the UK, complying with Waste Duty of Care obligations means filling out paper Waste Transfer Notes (WTNs), getting them signed, filing and storing them every time waste changes hands. It all adds up to an administrative headache that businesses could do without. Edoc is designed specifically to reduce the burden by providing a modern, quick and easy online alternative that will save businesses time, effort and money.
Mat Crocker, Head of Illegals and Waste at the Environment Agency, said “The intensive user testing cycles enabled participants to view a near complete version of edoc and perform a series of functional tests designed to assess how well they could carry out specific tasks, such as registering or uploading files to edoc without any assistance. The tests were designed to ensure that the process was seamless, straightforward and easy to follow from start to finish.
“At present the millions of WTNs that are produced each year have to be stored for up to two years, adding up to a huge amount of wasted paper, not to mention the administrative time they cause in terms of filing, storage and retrieval. There is clearly a need to offer a solution to this problem.
The new edoc system will allow businesses across the UK to create, share, edit, sign and record all waste transfers electronically, significantly reducing administrative tasks and in some cases saving businesses up to 50% of the cost associated with the creation, storage and retrieval of WTNs.
We have invested a lot of time and money into developing edoc over the past three years, and an absolutely crucial part of the process has been the direct involvement of businesses and organisations who represent the edoc user base. More than 80 companies have had input into the design of edoc through our regular business and technical working groups, giving us feedback that we’ve been able to build on to enhance the user experience.
To give edoc a real test, however, we’ve held two intensive user testing programmes, the latter one completed just last month, where businesses and organisations from a variety of different sectors were invited in for a week of testing and feedback on the final system.
The intensive user testing cycles enabled participants to view a near complete version of edoc and perform a series of functional tests designed to assess how well they could carry out specific tasks, such as registering or uploading files to edoc without any assistance. The tests were designed to ensure that the process was seamless, straightforward and easy to follow from start to finish.
Now we have completed our final phase of user testing and incorporated the latest round of feedback into the development of edoc, we are confident that we will be presenting a highly efficient and workable system in January.
“In 2013 we sent out over 8,000 waste transfer notes to our customers by post. From an administrative perspective this task is extremely time-consuming. We need to print out up to four pieces of paper per WTN which puts a massive strain on our printers, folding and enveloping machines, all of which need to be serviced beforehand. And then there is the postage, which is getting ever more expensive.
“If a customer had hundreds of sites with different types of bins and waste streams on each, they would generate hundreds, perhaps thousands, of WTNs that would need to be signed and returned to us. This is far from ideal, as we sell ourselves as a waste management service and try and make the process as easy as possible for our customers
“With edoc, all our annual WTNs will be online, and we can provide our customers with a link to simply register and sign their WTNs. We will know exactly who has received them as well as who has checked and signed them. We will also receive instant email alerts on their actions and we won’t have to worry about paper being lost in the post or on someone’s desk.
“And even though a customer might still have to manage hundreds of WTNs, they can check and sign them in bulk with a four digit pass-code. We are confident that we will be able to save time and money with edoc and are looking forward to moving our systems online.”
Tony Baker from GPT is another individual who took part in our edoc user testing and is committed to making the switch over to our new system.
“GPT already have an electronic system for generating WTN’s so we see EDOC as an enhancement to our existing arrangements. Convenience, visibility and quick and easy retrieval of information are the main benefits for us.”
“Approximately 12,000 Waste Transfer Notes are generated per annum as a result of waste services organised by GPT Waste Management. We are planning to encourage all of our customers and suppliers to register with EDOC in order to ensure a streamlined, efficient and effective way of transferring duty of care information between all parties involved in the transaction. We expect to see a reduction in physical storage space, server storage space and costs associated with postage and administrative resource.
We plan to utilise the system to upload our own electronically generated Season Ticket Waste Transfer Notes, thus, ensuring our Clients’ can easily and quickly access the statutory information required for their trade waste arrangements”.
Edoc team comments on Defra consultation into Waste Transfer Note alternatives
The team behind edoc has welcomed Defra’s consultation on alternatives to the current Waste Transfer Note (WTN) system published on 9 December.
The six week consultation comes as the finishing touches are being put to edoc, and helps highlight the fact that edoc will provide businesses with an easy to use, electronic alternative to recording on paper from 2014.
Chris Deed, who is leading implementation of edoc in partnership with the waste industry and other UK government bodies, said “The whole ethos behind edoc is to create a simple, cost-effective means for businesses to comply with the duty of care for waste. Millions of individual business waste transfers are recorded every year using up paper and taking up costly space, not to mention the administrative headache of filing, storing and searching for individual records if they are needed. ”
Steve Lee, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Wastes Management (CIWM), added: “As well as saving time and money on administration, edoc has a far bigger and more important role to play in the long term. It will give businesses the ability to understand and interrogate their own waste data and identify opportunities to improve resource efficiency, reduce waste and cut disposal costs.
These are benefits that will impact positively on the bottom line and improve competitiveness.”
Edoc is a quick, simple and free to use online system for recording business waste transfers. Users anywhere in the UK will be able to create waste transfer notes online, exchange them with the other party and sign them electronically in a completely paperless transaction. Records are secure and confidential to the parties involved in the transfer, and advanced search and interrogation features will enable users to find individual records or generate detailed tailored reports at the touch of a button.
Chris Deed added:
“The design of edoc will help accurate recording, which will improve data quality and reduce the opportunity for poor or fraudulent recording. Overall, edoc will create a more accurate picture of business waste arisings than we have ever had before.”
Working with us
We are spreading the message about edoc to businesses and organisations across the UK. If you are interested in transferring to the new online system and would like more details, please get in touch. We can provide information to help you spread the message to your customers and employees.
Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Edoc is being developed under a four-year programme co-financed by the European Commission (LIFE+). It is being delivered by the Environment Agency in partnership with
- The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM)
- Northern Ireland Environment Agency
- Reconomy (UK) Ltd
- WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme)
- Welsh Government
It has the full support of Defra and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).