As part of its GovTech Catalyst fund, the UK government has announced it will invest £1 million in two UK companies to develop smart waste tracking systems. It’s estimated that ‘waste crime’ (illegal waste activity) costs the UK around £600 million per year but it is also a significant barrier to meeting environmental targets.
The GovTech Catalyst fund is a £20 million fund aimed at supporting the development of solutions for the public sector. The funding will go to Anthesis and Topolytics to build a prototype digital waste tracking system that will help local authorities and central government tackle ‘waste crime’ such as illegal export or dumping of waste.
The companies will explore how to use technology to record and track waste throughout the economy, with a beta version scheduled to be available by the end of 2020. The companies will utilise technologies such as blockchain, QR codes on mobile devices, and electronic chips and sensors in their solution.
“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.” Rebecca Pow, Environment Minister
This investment comes hot on the heels of the Government’s Environment Bill, which was introduced into the UK Parliament on 15 October 2019. The Bill aims to crack down on ‘waste crime’ both inside the UK and abroad. It will create legally-binding environmental improvement targets, as well as a new Office for Environmental Protection.