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Chapter 1: Introduction to OWLS

This chapter provides a brief overview of the Online Waste Levy System (OWLS) and tells you how to set up new users, log in for the first time and set or change your password.

In this chapter

This chapter contains the following topics:



OWLS is the Ministry for the Environment’s (MfE) internet application that enables disposal facility operators to carry out waste disposal levy requirements online. It has been designed to minimise compliance costs disposal facility operators incur in order to help meet their obligations under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 and the Waste Minimisation (Calculation and Payment of Waste Disposal Levy) Regulations 2009.

OWLS allows operators to register, send returns and apply for extensions of time, waivers, methodologies and refunds.

Registering on OWLS

Once you have registered with us, you will be given access to OWLS. This is a secure website. The only people who can access your information are people you authorise, and MfE staff or contractors authorised to administer the levy.

User access types

Disposal facilities have two types of user access – Data entry and Verifier.
The table below shows the functions for each user type.

  Functions that users can perform Disposal facility users
    Data entry Verifier
Contacts and users View or change operator address details View Change
View or change disposal facility address details View Change
View, add or change contact people details View Add / Change
View or change signing authorities View Change end date
Returns View returns summary View View
Submit or verify new return Submit Submit / Verify
View or change a verified return View Change
Submit an amendment No access Submit / Verify
View and download statements View / Download View / Download
Applications and methodologies View applications summary View View
Add new applications No access Add
Change a pending application No access Change
View methodologies View View

Add a new user to OWLS

When to use

Use these steps when you require a login for OWLS, or want to create a login for someone else.





Contact MfE by calling 0800 WDLEVY (0800 935 389) and tell them that you want to add a new user to OWLS.
Result: MfE will email/post you the Signing Authorities form.


Complete the form, ensuring you acquire the relevant signatures.


Post the completed form to the MfE PO Box number listed on the form.

What happens next?

MfE will set up the new user and email you the login details. Once you receive this email, you can set your password.

Note: If the Signing Authorities form is incomplete, MfE will contact you to obtain the additional information.

Set or change your password

When to use

Use these steps to set, change or reset your password if you:

  • need to log in for the first time

  • have locked your account by entering your password incorrectly three times

  • have forgotten your password.


  • Data entry user

  • Verifier

Step Action
1 Determine whether you need to request a change.
If you… then…
are logging in for the first time

find the email you received from OWLS when you registered. Go to step 2.

Note: The email is valid for 72 hours. If you have not activated your log in within that time, you will need to contact the help desk on 0800 935 389.

need to reset or change your password

open OWLS, and click the Forgotten password link. Type your Username and then click Submit.

Result: A message advising that an email has been sent displays. You will need to use the link within 72 hours, or click the Forgotten password link again.


Open the email and click on the link to the OWLS site.

Result: The Validation screen displays the challenge questions you answered on the registration form.

Validation screen


Answer the challenge questions. Ensure you use the same words and spelling as you did on the registration form.

Note: The answers are not case sensitive.


Click the Next button.

Result: The Validation Username and Password screen displays.

Validation Username and Password screen


Complete the following fields in the Validation section.

Field Description

Type the username you want to use.

Note: Choose a username that is easy for you to remember. You will need to remember this in order to log in to OWLS, or use the Forgotten Password function.

Type your new password.
Note: Your password must be at least eight characters long and include:

  • a mix of lower and upper case characters
  • at least one number.
6 Click Activate.

What happens next?

You can now log in to OWLS.

Log in to OWLS

When to use

Use these steps to log in to OWLS.

Note: If you are logging in for the first time, or have forgotten your password, see the Set or change your password steps.


  • Data entry user

  • Verifier

Step Action

Open your browser, and go to the website

Result: The Home page displays. You can click:

  • Contact us – to view contact details for the levy
  • Useful links – to view links to information about the levy.
Home page displays

Type your Username and Password in the relevant fields.

  • The password is case sensitive.
  • If you have forgotten your username, contact the help desk on 0800 WDLEVY (0800 935 389).

Click Login.

Result: Your disposal facility home page displays.

What happens next?

You can use the OWLS functions for your disposal facility as required.

Moving around OWLS

Home page

When you first log on to OWLS you are presented with your disposal facility home page. From here you can access all of the functions available to you.

Your home page tells you:

  • when your next invoice is due for payment
  • if you have any overdue invoices
  • which returns have not been received
  • a summary of your previous tonnage.

All screens in OWLS follow a basic structure. - Screenshot

Field types and validation

There are four field types used in OWLS. To move from one field to the next, you can either use your mouse, or press the Tab key on your keyboard.

Free text field – users can edit and update these fields - Screenshot Free text field – users can edit and update these fields Drop-down list - Screenshot Drop-down list – users can select options from the list
System-populated field - Screenshot System-populated field – users cannot edit these fields. Check box - Screenshot Check box – users can either select or de-select the box

Some fields have built in validation. If your entry is incorrect or is not valid for the field (eg, no @ in an email address, or a required field has been left blank), a message prompting you to update the field displays next to the field name.

lane line


An online help function is available from every screen within OWLS.

Click the Where to go for help - Screenshot icon in the top-right corner to open the specific help page for the screen.