MRF gate fees more than doubled since 2018, WRAP reports

The average gate fee paid by local authorities to send tonnage to materials recycling facilities (MRFs) has more than doubled between 2018 and 2021, WRAP data has shown.

The 'upwards trend' of MRF gate fees is continuing, WRAP said

According to the annual gate fee report published by WRAP today (04 August), the average gate fee recorded by councils was £60 a tonne in 2021, up from £25 a tonne in 2018.

The gross gate fee rises to a median figure of £80/tonne with bulking and transport from the transfer station to MRF accounted for.

This takes into account the wide range of the results received along with significant variability in the types of contract arrangement in place, as outlined below.

A range of responses were received based on contract types

However, the picture is mixed across the country.

WRAP explained that 45% of responding local authorities said that their gross gate fee had changed in the past year. Of this, 49% suggested that it had increased, with 42% suggesting a decrease and 9% no change.

WRAP added: ” The upward trend in MRF gate fee continues. The median, gross, UK MRF gate fee for
contracts sorting 2 or more materials is £60/tonne (for a range of -£30 to £135/tonne),
compared to £43/tonne in 2019/20 and £25/tonne in 2018.”

Organic waste

With food waste sent to anaerobic digestion (AD), the median UK gate fee was £30/tonne excluding transport, the document continued, adding that last year’s fee was slightly higher at £35/tonne.

The results pointed to the fact that gate fees for food waste remained relatively stable, with 90% of the 42 responding local authorities saying their gate fee hasn’t changed in the past year.

There were 49 respondents who reported sending material to in-vessel composting facilities, the majority (45%) sending mixed food and green waste, with 35% sending green waste only.

Energy from waste

The median UK gate fee excluding transport for waste sent to EfW facilities was £95/tonne. This was £2 higher than last year’s figure.

The report added that for England, the median gate fee was slightly lower than for the UK at £90/tonne, with London the lowest figure at £70/tonne.

Contamination

According to the survey, “MRF contracts are more likely than previously to have contamination thresholds imposed”.

Based on the provided evidence, it suggests that contamination is now more actively monitored and enforced by MRF operators, “likely a result of more stringent standards applied by material reprocessors”.

Two thirds (66%) of respondents stated a maximum contamination threshold of 15%, beyond which loads are rejected or charges imposed, the document read.

In addition, the operator interview suggested that contamination rates are increasing, with one suggesting this had increased from an average of 12% to 15% of input material.

Useful links

Gate Fees 2021/22 report | WRAP

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