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Smart waste tracking firms get government funding boost

Five UK companies have been awarded up to £80,000 to develop digital processes of tracking waste from source to final disposal.

Successful projects of the funding include research into tracking waste through electronic chips and sensors, the use of blockchain, looking at common reporting platforms and new data analytics.

An independent review commissioned by environment secretary Michael Gove last year found that a lack of digital record-keeping in the waste industry is often exploited by criminals who mislabel waste to avoid landfill tax or illegally export it.

Funding is part of the Innovate UK fund set up to encourage tech firms to develop solutions for public sector challenges including waste data tracking and waste crime.

Manchester-based start-up Dsposal, which builds tech to connect waste producers to licensed waste services, was awarded some of the funding.

Sophie Walker, Dsposal co-founder and COO, said: “The waste industry is very complex, but it’s also an enormous opportunity. We need to be bold and use this chance to do something transformative. Waste is in the public eye like never before and we must seize this chance to deliver solutions.”

After a three-month ‘feasibility’ stage, up to two projects will be selected and funded up to £500,000 as part of the GovTech Catalyst scheme to develop and field test a prototype.

Minister for Implementation, Oliver Dowden, added “The effective management of waste will help improve the environment and boost this emerging industry, clearly highlighting how our investment in smarter technologies is crucial to tackling public sector challenges.

By helping UK regulators take action against waste crime, and spot opportunity for companies to join up waste operations, government hopes to maximise the value of waste as a resource.