The latest data from the MRF reporting scheme shows the input tonnage in England has fallen for two quarters in a row, the first time this has happened since records began.
Facilities in England and Wales have been sampling materials and sending the results to WRAP since early 2015. The first report from WRAP was for Q4 2014 and the latest report is for Q2 2017, the 11th.
A total input tonnage of 824,697 was recorded (see chart). This continues a downward trajectory from Q4 2016, which stood at 884,406 tonnes, and Q1 2017 at 855,900 tonnes.
The number of reporting MRFs during that period stands at 85 – a similar figure to recent quarters.
The picture is different in Wales which had 11 participating MRFs this quarter. The total tonnage input was 74,461 tonnes, up on the previous quarter and slightly down on the same quarter in 2016.
WRAP has been asked for a comment on the double fall in England.
In England, the average percentage by weight of ‘target’ material received by MRFs in Q2 2017 was 85.5%, down from 86% in the previous quarter. In Wales, the rate is 88.2%, down from 88.5%.
The remaining proportion of material is either non-recyclable or not capable of being recycled in a particular facility.
Paper accounts for most of the input material (47.4% in England and 53% in Wales), followed by glass (12-16%), plastics (12-14%) and metals (6-7%).
The quartery reporting scheme was introduced in a bid to improve the quality of recyclate, but critics argue that the focusing on MRF output sampling, routinely carried out by operators, would be a better measure.