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‘More time needed’ on MRF sampling

Rwm 2016

More data needs to be collected before conclusions can be drawn from WRAP’s MRF sampling, according to a Suez UK manager.

At a RWM panel debate about waste data, Resource Futures chief executive Sam Reeve asked from the audience the panel’s thoughts on the MRF code of practice.

He referenced an earlier comment from Suez UK technical development director Stuart Hayward-Higham that 18 months’ of data was needed before any conclusions could be drawn.

”Eighteen months down the line, do you think the MRF code of practice has done what it set out to achieve, which is to correct the market failure in transparency in that part of the supply chain?” he asked.

Hayward-Higham responded that a further 18 months’ data could need to be collected.

He added that his company had begun sampling the data a year before it was required through the scheme, and had found it useful to help analyse the firm’s exports of refuse-derived fuel.

“It’s a good start,” he said. ”With seasonal data you need three years, ultimately, so we’ve got about two and a half now as a company.

“Consistency in sampling method is important. If you’ve not done it, sampling is a really tough job for people on the ground to take a sample and do the other jobs.

“The only way you will get accuracy is by many, many, many more samples.”

Environmental Services Association executive director Jacob Hayler agreed that consistency was an issue.

“It’s really helped to shine a light on contamination coming out of a plant and also going in.

“I think there are still some issues about definitions and consistency, and how different MRF operators report back on the system. But it’s a work in progress that will improve over time and it’s a good start.”

Speaking to MRW afterwards, Reeve disputed the need for another 18 months’ wait before conclusions could be drawn. But he was hopeful that some analysis of the data would come soon, either from the industry or the Environment Agency (EA).

The latest data on the scheme for operators in England and Wales showed record output tonnage from English plants, despite a drop in the number of plants reporting.

Some 88 MRFs in England notified the EA for Q1 2016 period, two fewer than for the previous quarter.

Commenting on the latest figures, WRAP said: “Facilities have been sampling and reporting for 18 months. The regulators are continuing their annual programme of announced and unannounced visits to each site.

“Users [of the portal] should be aware that any queries raised during the regulators’ validation processes are reported back to the facilities, but the data entries are not always rectified in response. This means the portal will include data for facilities where there is an outstanding validation issue.”

Data for April-June 2016 is expected in November.

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