Digital waste tracking consultation

Closed 15 Apr 2022

Opened 21 Jan 2022

Results updated 24 Oct 2023

On 21 October 2023, Defra published an updated response to the consultation on the ‘Introduction of mandatory digital waste tracking’. This is published jointly on behalf of the United Kingdom and the devolved governments who are working together to develop a single waste tracking service for users whether they are recording what happens to waste in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

This response follows the publication in December 2022 of the summary of consultation responses. See below.

Previous response from Defra

Defra has published a summary of responses it received to the consultation on the Introduction of mandatory digital waste tracking which ran earlier this year.  The consultation was published jointly on behalf of the United Kingdom and the devolved governments. Find out more on the UK government website 

Keep up to date

If you would like to be kept informed about the progress of digital waste tracking, please sign up to the newsletter.

If you would like to get involved in the development of the service by taking part in usability testing and providing feedback, please sign up to the User Panel.



Over 200 million tonnes of waste is produced in the UK each year but there is currently no single or comprehensive way of tracking it, with legislation relating to the transport, management and description of waste being introduced separately over the last 30 or so years. 

We currently rely on multiple IT and paper-based systems to collect elements of waste tracking data, making it very difficult to determine what happens to our waste and to have a comprehensive understanding of whether it has been recycled, recovered, or disposed of.

SEPA and Scottish Government are working with partners in the other UK environment agencies and governments to join these fragmented systems up. Replacing paper-based record-keeping with a digital tracking system will make it much easier and less time consuming for legitimate waste companies to comply with reporting requirements whilst making it much harder for rogue operators to compete in the industry and commit waste crime including fly tipping, deliberate misclassification of waste, illegal waste exports and the operation of illegal waste sites.

The new service will help to deliver SEPA’s Regulatory Strategy by monitoring compliance with the Duty of Care, enabling timely tracking of hazardous waste, facilitate better data analysis to identify waste crime and provide data to support the development and monitoring of sector plans. It will also enable the identification and tracking of materials and resources to facilitate the more efficient use of resources in the circular economy, supporting the objectives of SEPA’s Waste to Resources Framework.

Why your views matter

We are working together to develop a central digital waste tracking service and through this joint consultation we are seeking views from all interested parties on the implementation of this service.

The Environment Act 2021 gives us the powers across the UK to make regulations to establish a digital waste tracking system and require those who produce, handle, dispose of or make products from waste, to enter information onto it. Waste tracking regulations will then be developed in each of the four UK nations. The Scottish Government will develop waste tracking regulations for Scotland.

This consultation focuses on the practical aspects of introducing a digital waste tracking service to ensure that what we deliver will meet the needs of all those who will either be required to enter information onto it or who will draw information from it, including; businesses across all sectors, government, regulators, academia and the general public. 

The responses we receive will help inform the design of the service, refine our proposals and produce regulations to support the waste tracking service.


  • Public
  • Waste


  • Better regulation