Implementation of mandatory digital waste tracking – consultation outcome

  • Market Insight 19 December 2023 19 December 2023
  • UK & Europe

  • Regulatory & Investigations

The government has now provided its response to the consultation on ‘Implementation of mandatory digital waste tracking’. The consultation response forms part of the UK government’s wider plans to introduce smarter regulation to grow the economy.

The UK government and devolved administrations have agreed to work together to develop a UK wide waste tracking service to provide a seamless system across the UK.

Waste types, tracking and recording

It is intended that the waste tracking service will require information to be recorded about movements of all types of controlled waste and extractive waste. This includes all types of household, commercial and industrial waste whether it is classified as hazardous or non-hazardous waste.

The digital waste tracking service requirements will replace the existing requirements to complete waste transfer notes and hazardous waste consignment notes. Where a record of a waste movement within the UK is required under existing legal requirements, a record on the UK waste tracking service will be required. The government states that the main difference will be that digital waste tracking records will be required when household waste is collected from domestic premises by third parties (subject to the exceptions). This is important to improve transparency as almost two thirds of flytipping incidents involve household waste. Tracking household waste will mean that householders can check to see where their waste has been taken if they want to.

In general, waste tracking service records will be required when:

  • Waste is passed to a different organisation or person.
  • Waste is moved between sites operated by the same organisation, for example moving waste between different permitted waste sites operated by the same entity.
  • Waste is passed from the control of one organisation to another organisation within the same site, for example where there are different waste facilities operated by different entities in one location.
  • Waste is moved between authorisations operated by the same entity on the same site, for example waste is moved from the control of a permitted facility to be handled under a registered exemption operated by the same entity within the same locality.

Where waste does not leave the site where it was originally produced, then waste tracking records will also be required to be submitted onto the waste tracking service when:

  • Waste is deposited, recovered, or treated under an environmental waste permit or licence.  This is necessary as when the digital waste tracking service is implemented, separate permitted or licenced site waste returns will no longer be required.
  • Hazardous waste is being handled under a registered exemption. This is necessary because through the implementation of mandatory digital waste tracking, separate hazardous waste returns will no longer be required.


There will be exceptions from the overarching requirements for digital waste tracking records. These include:

  • Household waste collected from domestic premises by local authorities - waste tracking records for this waste will begin when it is taken into a waste receiving site.
  • Household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) - waste tracking records will be required when waste is removed from a HWRC.
  • Litter - a person or organisation collecting litter. 
  • Incidental waste - for example from tradespeople and mobile service operators, records will not be required for the first movement of that waste to a collection point.
  • Samples of waste - where samples are moved for the purpose of analysis and determining its correct classification or description.

Other potential exemptions are continuing to be discussed. 

Using the service

The government states it is developing the web-based waste tracking in accordance with open digital standards. There will be no need for users to obtain specific software or purchase licences. It will be possible to record the details of just one movement or multiple movements in bulk.


The service is currently being tested with members who have signed up from all areas of the waste industry. The government is working towards:

  • 2024 - the waste tracking service will be publicly available to users on a voluntary basis. This is likely to happen in phases whereby specific groups of users are invited over time. 
  • April 2025 - legislation will come into force across the UK, subject to approval across all four legislatures and after parliamentary approval via an affirmative statutory instrument. The requirements of the regulations will be mandatory from this point and service charges will also be payable (an annual flat fee in the region of approximately £20 per year).

The full consultation response can be found here.


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