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New system tracks hazardous waste

16 May 2006

New system tracks hazardous waste

Tracing and tracking hazardous waste in New Zealand will soon be as easy as sitting at a computer thanks to the introduction of a new government funded database.

WasteTRACK is an internet-based system that has been designed to improve the monitoring of hazardous waste throughout its life cycle and has received nearly $300,000 of Government funding, Environment Minister David Benson-Pope said today.

The database, which has been welcomed by the waste industry and territorial authorities, is already being used by some city and district councils, and will be rolled-out around New Zealand.

“WasteTRACK is all about transparency. For the first time, we will know exactly where hazardous waste is going throughout its entire life cycle. This system is an important tool in the management of hazardous waste,” said Mr Benson-Pope.

“Creating clarity and certainty about what happens with hazardous waste is a key focus of the Government’s hazardous waste policy. We are not only looking out for the well-being of the environment, but we are also focusing on the health of our communities.”

WasteTRACK, which is modelled on a similar scheme from the Western Australian Department of Environment, was trialled in New Zealand in 2005. During that time more than 75 million litres of liquid and hazardous waste, mainly from farms and household septic tanks, has been tracked.

Currently Waipa District Council, Hamilton City Council and Waikato District Council are using WasteTRACK. Mr Benson-Pope says more councils have expressed an interest in using the system to gain better control of what enters treatment plants and disposal facilities.

Representative of the liquid and hazardous waste industry, Richard Worsnop, emphasises the sector’s support of the initiative: “With this system our members have the opportunity to improve their environmental performance. Participating companies have to comply with specific requirements to guarantee quality and minimum standards,” he said.

Contact: Kelly Gunn (Media Assistant) 04 471 9878 or 021 227 9878
Richard Worsnop (Liquid and hazardous waste industry) 027 443 7852
John Mills (Waipa District Council) 07 872 0030

Background information

WasteTRACK brings all players in the life cycle of hazardous waste together (generators of waste, carriers, treatment plants or disposal sites). Through the internet they share information and set up contracts for the transport and disposal of waste.

WasteTRACK is based on the Controlled Waste Tracking System which was developed by the Department of Environment in Western Australia.

The current benefits of tracking waste are:

- Wastes are appropriately managed and disposed of

- Generators of waste can identify and verify how much waste they generate and how it is treated/disposed of

- Waste generators and waste carriers comply with regulations for transport and disposal

- Contractors can analyse the quantity and type of waste they carry (this information can be useful for such things as business management and truck maintenance).

The future benefits of tracking waste include:

- Assists policymakers in identifying volumes of waste generated
- Territorial authorities can better protect their waste water treatment plants and landfills
- Territorial authorities will know which onsite systems have been serviced and can therefore focus their time and resources on those systems that have not.

The diagram below shows the steps involved in using WasteTRACK.

When a waste is generated and requires pick up, WasteTRACK is used as follows:

- The generator of the waste contacts a waste carrier – they can search for one on the WasteTRACK website or contact their usual waste contractor

- The carrier opens a new tracking form and enters who has generated the waste, the quantity of waste, the category of waste and where the waste is to be treated/disposed of

- The carrier then prints off the tracking form, which can be used as a job sheet

- The driver then goes and collects the waste and takes it to the specified treatment plant or disposal site

- The treatment plant/disposal site logs into WasteTRACK and verifies that the waste received is the same as specified on the tracking form and enters the time and volume received into the tracking form

The carrier then goes back into the form and checks that the information is correct. The carrier then closes the form.

ENDS

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