Five UK companies have been awarded up to £80,000 to develop innovative digital solutions to tackle the challenge of tracking waste, including a Manchester-based tech start-up.
The UK generates more than 200 million tonnes of waste a year, with individual waste transactions estimated at above 20 million. However, the subsequent transport and disposal of this waste can be complicated and at times fragmented.
Research has found that the lack of digital record-keeping in the waste industry is frequently exploited by organised criminals who mislabel waste to avoid landfill tax or illegally export it.
The five winning projects, awarded funding under the government’s GovTech Catalyst initiative, will help to build a better understanding of how waste is generated, handled and disposed of in the UK, helping regulators to take action against waste crime and spot opportunities for companies to join up their waste operations.
Free waste app
The project, which is being delivered in partnership with Open Data Manchester and the University of Bradford, is designed to bring a smart waste solution in two parts. The first is a simple, free-to-use waste app which can be used by any person or organisation to deal with their waste correctly - from picking a licensed waste company to checking their credentials and paying for the job when it has been carried out compliantly.
The second is the design of an open data standard for waste, on which will be built a central database, enabling better quality data to be gathered and connecting the separate systems currently in use in the waste industry.
’In the public eye’
Sophie Walker, co-founder and COO, said: "Dsposal is the first interconnected, collaborative waste management platform for everyone. We’re on a mission to help tackle waste crime, promote waste as a valuable resource and drive the circular economy.
“Waste is in the public eye like never before and we must seize this chance to deliver solutions that move the country towards resource efficiency and help us deliver on the government’s ambitious Resources and Waste Strategy.”
Other successful projects awarded funding include research into tracking waste through electronic chips and sensors, the use of blockchain technology, and new data analytics.