Operators of Materials Recycling Facilities (MRFs) will have to pay £2,240 for the cost associated with policing the new MRF quality regulations, under plans unveiled by the Environment Agency.
From October, all MRFs in England and Wales processing more than 1,000 tonnes of dry recyclate per annum will be required to measure and report the quality of the input, output and residual waste streams every three months. The process that will be overseen by the agency.
The measure was introduced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and is intended to boost confidence in the quality of material produced at MRFs as it is thought that grading outputs according to their quality will bring benefits to buyers and sellers of recyclate.
The Environment Agency has launched a consultation into the charges for regulating MRFs under the new regime. This is intended to cover costs including data processing, costs related to physical inspection of sites, and the administrative costs associated with these activities.
MRF operators will be asked to pay the fee in February of each year for the previous 12 month reporting period. Firms will be expected to begin payment from 2015 and have been asked to comment on whether the costs are appropriate.
The consultation also asks for views on a charging regime for its National Definition of Waste (Dow) Panel, an advisory service providing guidance on compliance with end of waste criteria. Views are being sought ahead of a June 20 deadline.
Meanwhile, guidance has been published to help MRF operators carry out effective sampling and testing of materials, to meet their obligations under the MRF Regulations.
Developed by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and an industry working group the non statutory guidance has been developed to ensure the testing of MRF material composition is carried out to a high standard.
The guidance outlines the scope of the testing requirements of the regulations, such as details of how much each sample must weigh, as well as providing information on the frequency which MRF operators must test the input and output of a facility.
It also draws together the results of three separate studies commissioned by WRAP: a MRF comparison study looking at material sorting practices at facilities in the UK and overseas; a costing model for different material sorting options and; a review of existing contractual arrangements between MRF operators and local authorities across the UK.
WRAP has also compiled a number of case studies on facilities in Milton Keynes, Exeter, East London, West Sussex and Reading – offering examples of how material quality has been improved through a variety of methods including automated plastics sorting and improved management systems.