The Environment Agency leads a multi-agency body to tackle waste crime

The Environment Agency has joined forces with other enforcement agencies to tackle waste crime. Principally, this unit has set its sights on cracking down on fly-tipping, illegal waste sites and fraud. Compliant waste operators should welcome this long-overdue shake-up.


Organised waste crime is estimated to cost the UK economy at least £600 million a year and the Environment Agency (EA) stopped over 800 illegal waste sites. The EA have seen steadily increasing success in this area. For example, in 2019 they conducted their largest ever sting operation in Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire. Establishing the Joint Unit for Waste Crime will expand upon the EA’s progress.

In a press release, the UK Government outlined their waste crime strategy. A multi-agency body will be established. This unit will incorporate elements of law enforcement agencies, the EA, Natural Resources Wales, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, the police, HMRC and the National Crime Agency. Through cooperation, this new task force endeavours to push for heavier fines and greater custodial sentences. They aim to clamp down on offences like fly-tipping, illegal waste sites and fraud. The Unit will prioritise the sharing of information, intelligence and resources. Subsequently, this will improve their agility in investigating criminal waste operations.

Summarising the task force’s objective, environment secretary Theresa Villiers asserted:

“Criminals are shifting their focus to waste crime as they expand their illegal activities and it’s vital that we take action. The Joint Unit will shut down illegal waste sites, catch criminals before they can do further harm to our environment and local communities, and make them pay for the damage they have done through custodial sentences and the payment of compensation”

Stay updated

With rising waste management costs and increasingly complex legislation, it is important that industry managers stay informed. Here at Wiser Environment, we have extensive experience in the field of waste and resource management. If you have any questions or queries about the latest updates on waste crime initiatives, then contact us or call our team on 01480 462232.

Impending WEEE changes for retailers and wholesalers

Retailers and wholesalers need to be aware of the latest developments of the Distributor Take Back Scheme. Crucially, they will now need to start preparing for an in-store alternative for their customer’s old household appliances. The Wiser Group is ready and available to provide compliance advice, links to producer compliances schemes, WEEE collections and recycling. For this reason, retailers can worry not and remain focused on providing for their customers.


A summary of the Distributor Take Back Scheme so far

The term ‘distributor’ refers to any establishment that retails electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) in the UK. Those operating in that portion on the supply chain must provide a way for their customers to dispose of their old EEE when they purchase a replacement. In other words, when a retailer sells a fridge, then they must also offer to take back the consumer’s old one.

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2013 permits the choice of two take back solutions: either offer in-store take back or they could join a Distributor Take Back Scheme (DTS). The DTS solution involves the distributor working directly with a recycling centre; providing the consumer with a location to dispose of their WEEE.

In January 2020, the DTS transitioned in phase 5. One of the most significant developments was to exclude certain retailers from utilising the DTS option. Precisely, those with an annual turnover greater than £100,000. Instead, these large retailers must fall back on providing in-store solutions.

How can Wiser help?

Retailers who now rely on an in-store collection should contact the Wiser Group. Wiser specialises in both WEEE compliance and recycling; working with retailers and wholesalers across the UK. Most importantly, Wiser anchor their services around the waste hierarchy. This means is that Wiser puts reuse at the forefront and prioritise delivering the most environmentally responsible service.

Specifically, Wiser Environment has particular expertise in providing retailers with commercially astute advice. Whereas, Wiser Recycling confidently manages the ongoing storage and collection services for all categories of WEEE. This includes large household appliances, lighting and other EEE.

As the regulatory institutions increase scrutiny, the challenge of maintaining commerciality intensifies. The Wiser Group is here to we work closely with our clients and focus on prospering through compliance. If you have any questions or queries about the DTS, then contact Wiser or call on 01480 462232.