Under the amended Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2014, MRF operators of mixed waste are required to sample and report on the quality of input and output material sorted at facilities. Introduced in October 2014, the introduction of new rules aimed to bring more transparency to the sorting and recycling of household waste. Facilities have now been sampling and reporting for 18 months, but participation is a concern and the number of facilities reporting data remains lower than expected.
The latest data, published on WRAP’s Materials Facility Reporting Portal, covers quarter 1 of 2016 and shows a consistent level of target input and output material. Between January and March 2016, a total of 880,307 tonnes of material entered the responding MRFs in England. This is just over 6,000 tonnes more than in the previous quarter. The volume of target material entering English MRFs stands steady at 86.1 per cent. Over half of this was paper and 9.2 per cent of received material was non-recyclable. In Wales, the total tonnage was 83,536 tonnes, with the volume of target material at 88.1 per cent.
Under the regulations, MRFs that receive 1,000 tonnes or more of mixed waste material for sorting in four consecutive reporting periods qualify for the reporting obligations. In Q1 of 2016 85 English facilities reported data, compared to 90 in the prior three month period, and far less than the 160 that were expected to fall under the regulations. In Wales the number of facilities reporting continued to rise slowly, with 12 providing data, up from 11 in Q4 2015 and 10 in Q3 2014.
In its commentary of the figures, Wrap says that the regulators are continuing their annual programme of announced and unannounced visits to MRF sites, which enable them to advise operators on the statutory sampling and reporting requirements and assess compliance.