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22.10.19

£1m boost to tackle illegal waste removal in the UK

The Government has announced today (Oct 22) that up to £1m in funding is being awarded to fight waste crime in the UK.

The money will also go towards preventing illegal waste from being shipped abroad by using smart waste tracking.

The UK currently uses an outdated, paper-based system for monitoring household and commercial waste and the illegal activity costs the UK economy around £600m every year.

Organised criminals who are aware of the dated system are able to exploit it, by mislabelling waste to avoid paying landfill fees or export it illegally.

Two pioneering technology companies have been chosen to design and build prototypes for the UK’s first digital waste tracking system, in a bid to eliminate this issue and save money.

The £1m will go to digital specialists’ company, Anthesis and waste analytics company, Topolytics as part of the governments £20m GovTech Catalyst fund which supports the development of innovation.

Both companies, picked from a shortlist of five in a Government-run competition, will aim to prove that innovative, modern technology can solve long-standing problems in the UK.

The Environmental Bill that was introduced into Parliament this week included the commitment to crack down on illegal movements of waste both at home and abroad.

Measures include introducing compulsory electronic tracking of waste, plans to extend producer responsibility and new charges for other single-use plastic items.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:  

“Waste crime causes economic, environmental and social harm in every community it blights. That’s why our transformative Environmental 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.”

“Both companies put forward impressive proposals to help modernise the waste system and help level the playing field by ensuring all businesses are adopting legitimate waste management practices. This is great news for the environment but bad news for those determined to exploit the system.”

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