The latest data on the new sampling regime for MRF operators in England and Wales shows a slight fall in the number of English facilities reporting.
Overall, the percentage of target waste received has remained fairly constant, with a slight fall in Wales, although the tonnages received are up by more than 10%.
When the first set of data, covering the final quarter of 2014 was released by WRAP in July, there was surprise that only 90 MRFs in England had notified the Environment Agency (EA) in accordance with the regulations. Most observers, and Defra, had anticipated that several dozen more would have done so.
For Q1 2015, WRAP says 87 English MRFs had notified the EA, with all but two submitting their returns. These reporting MRFs provided data based on 7,878 samples of input and output material, up from 6,864 previously. In Wales, as last time, nine MRFs notified Natural Resource Wales (NRW),s with seven submitting data.
Ray Georgeson, chief executive of the Resource Association (pictured), said it was too early to seek trends or patterns in the data but there was “a continuing concern” about the low levels of compliance in terms of data submission.
“The failure of a significant part of the industry to move into compliance runs the risk of seriously undermining the value of the regulations, even at this early stage. Urgent action is needed by the regulators to address this,” he said.
In terms of input, WRAP’s summary shows that, by weight, 86.8% (86.6% previously) of material received by English MRFs was ‘target’, meaning it was identified by the operator to produce bulk quantities.
The non-target material figure was 5.6% (5.9%), while material considered non-recyclable remained at 7.7%.
In Wales, the target material was down to 88.3% from 90.6%, with 6.4% (4.9% previously) non-target and 5% (4.5%) non-recyclable.
WRAP noted that the regulators (EA and NRW) raised queries on 82 of the returns for England and seven for Wales but adds: “A large number of queries is to be expected as the reporting is a new requirement, with specific data required. It will take time for the sampling and reporting processes to bed in.”
WRAP has repeated its caution on drawing conclusions from the data which is published on its portal.
“This is still a new process for MRFs to comply with and the data suggests continued inconsistency in reporting.
“Queries have been raised by the regulator, however not all have been resolved. Consequently users of the portal are discouraged at this stage from isolating individual responses and comparing these to other sites.”
WRAP suggested that the increase in tonnages received, up 87,349 tonnes in England to 876,744tonnes (in Wales up 11,345 tonnes to 74,473 tonnes), could be because of recycleable waste generated at Christmas which is collected in January and falls into Q1 2015.