MRF gate fees increases show no sign of abating

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has published its annual Gate Fees Report, examining the gate fees charged to local authorities for different waste treatment options.

A materials recovery facility (MRF)

The report, which is informed by a series of interviews with local authorities, private sector operators and senior managers of waste management companies, revealed that the cost of waste treatment continues to rise, with 83 per cent of respondents expecting gate fees to increase in the future.

According to the report, the median gate fee paid by local authorities to send recyclable materials to materials recovery facilities (MRFs) has increased to £25 per tonne from last year’s £22 per tonne. This is a continuation in the upward trend reported last year, when gate fees for MRFs rose by 47 per cent.

The majority of MRF gate fees were reported as being between £5 and £10 per tonne, compared to last year’s £0 to £5 per tonne.

This year, 12 per cent of local authorities reported not having to pay a gate fee for MRFs, down from 16 per cent in 2017 and 21 per cent in 2016.

The report also confirmed that the MRF market is moving towards a fixed gate fee plus commodity price adjustments, and is becoming increasingly sophisticated, with MRF processing and commodity sales requirements managed in separate contracts.

The issue of contamination was also highlighted – according to the report, contracted contamination limits are reducing as operators try to secure new markets and better prices for the recyclates they generate.

In terms of waste sent to energy-from-waste (EfW) facilities, gate fees have also increased, with this year’s median EfW gate fee at £89 per tonne compared to £86 per tonne last year. Out of all local authority respondents, 65 per cent said their gate fee had changed in 2018, with 93 per cent saying that this was due to an inflation increase or some other contractual annual uplift.

Gate fees for anaerobic digestion (AD) facilities were reported at £27 per tonne, slightly higher than last year’s £26 per tonne. Gate fees for in-vessel composting (IVC), however, had stayed the same as last year, at £46 per tonne.

With regard to landfill, gate fees have risen to £24 per tonne, compared to last year’s £20 per tonne. Not including landfill tax, which currently stands at £91.35 per tonne for the standard rate, the landfill gate fees ranged from £2 to £87.

WRAP has created an interactive map which allows users to view the national and regional data for different waste treatment options.

You can view WRAP’s Gate Fees Report 2019 on the WRAP website.

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