MRF operators notified of new Code obligations

Operators of Materials Recycling Facilities (MRFs) have been notified by the Environment Agency of new sampling and reporting obligations that will apply under forthcoming Code of Practice.

A letter from the Agency explains it will need to be informed of all operators of MRFs receiving more than 1,000 tonnes of mixed waste each year before October 1 2014, when the new MRF obligations will apply.

First launched in February 2013, the MRF Code of Practice obligations are “intended to bring more transparency to the sorting and recycling of household wastes”, the Agency letter states.

According to the Agency, the target materials are glass, metals, paper and plastics sorted for recycling, and MRFs will need to assess whether they qualify for sampling, recording and reporting.

Environmental permits for qualifying MRFs which sort waste into two or more target materials for recycling will then be automatically varied to directly introduce new sampling and reporting requirements, the Agency letter explains.

However, the letter states the obligations will NOT apply to:

  • MRFs handling only one of the waste types;
  • sites that are not specifically equipped for sorting (civic amenity sites, for example);
  • ‘dirty’ MRFs treating residual wastes;
  • Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) plants;
  • waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) facilities;
  • or sites sorting dry recyclable material from construction and demolition waste.

The letter explains that MRFs which qualify will from October 2014 need to notify the Agency “as soon as possible and at the latest by the end of December 2014”. Operators can also use an email template produced by the Agency in order to notify ahead of the new requirements.

It notes: “The obligation to notify is a permit condition imposed directly by the Regulations. We can advise on the criteria if you are in any doubt”.

Once the Agency has been notified, MRFs will be expected to start sampling and record the results from October 2014, before reporting the information to the Agency “by the end of January 2015 and quarterly thereafter”.

This information will then by published in an online database provided by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), while the Agency also plans to visit MRFs to provide advice and inspect sampling and reporting arrangements.

The Agency is also currently consulting on proposals for an annual charge of £2,340 to “cover the costs of our additional work” through the new MRF obligations. The consultation runs until June 20 2014.





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