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Fall in commodity prices leads to increased MRF gate fees

Gate fees charged by MRFs in the past year have increased significantly, but food and green waste processing fees have remained steady, according to WRAP. 

Its latest annual snapshot, the Gate Fees Report, says the median fee paid by local authorities for MRF services in 2016 is £25 per tonne, up from £6 per tonne in 2015.

It attributes the rise to changes in commodity markets and end-market prices for recovered materials. WRAP found that, between January 2015 and January 2016, aluminium cans had dropped in price by 40% and steel cans by 86%. Plastic bottles prices decreased by 39%.

The range of fees at MRFs is much wider than for other processing. Some local authorities are receiving as much as £62 per tonne in income for their materials, but others report paying up to £89 per tonne to their MRF.

Thirty councils (28%) reported that they either pay no fee or were paid by the MRF for their materials, compared with 46% last year. Of the 122 councils surveyed that expressed an opinion, 98 (80%) expected MRF fees to increase in the future.

The median gate fee for open-air windrow composting of green waste was £24 per tonne, unchanged from the previous three surveys. The median in-vessel composting fee for mixed food and green waste is £47 per tonne compared with £46 per tonne the previous two years.

Local authorities sending collected household food waste treated at anaerobic digestion (AD) facilities pay £40 per tonne, which is unchanged.

Recent market changes, particularly in England, have expanded the range of fees with some local authorities indicating AD fees as low as zero, with contracts signed in 2014 or 2015 down to £25 per tonne.

The median fee paid for recycling and recovery of waste wood collected at household waste recycling centres remains at £35 per tonne. The fee for treatment of waste at mechanical biological treatment facilities is slightly below that in the previous survey.


MRF (4+ materials)

All contracts


-£62 to £89

Contracts after 2014


£3 to £89


Open-air windrow


£9 to £57

In-vessel composting


£22 to £61

Anaerobic digestion


£0 to £75


Household residual


£67 to £111




£22 to £131

Pre-2000 facilities


£22 to £90

Post-2000 facilities


£65 to £131

Wood waste

All grades collected from HWRCs


-£5 to £82


Non-hazardous including landfill


£91 to £145

Non-hazardous excluding landfill


£8 to £62

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