The Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) Sorting Guide

5th December 2016

Our sorting materials guide provides end-to-end guidance on Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) compliance, regulation, material sources, quality output, and the key aspects of running a successful sorting and reprocessing operation.

Jump to
Our reports and guidance
Our case studies
Government guidance and regulations



There are a number of strict regulations MRFs operators must abide by whilst also developing technological and testing processes and best practices to ensure both compliance and efficiency. This includes the value, volume and quality of material as well as the testing processes involved in the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2014.

The following resources have been developed by WRAP to assist MRFs in meeting these regulations and include real-life examples detailing good practice.

WRAP’s Resources

WRAP has developed a number of case studies, flow diagrams, sampling information sheets, and sample contracts for your organisation to use in developing a culture of best practice and ensuring you adhere to the raft of regulations governing MRFs.

On sampling:

Sampling flow diagram (powerpoint presentation) >>
Sampling and Testing Guidance for Material Facilities >>

On value and quality:

Recovering value from MRFs >>
MRFs comparison of efficiency and quality >>
MRF quality assessment study >>
MRF output material quality thresholds >>

On regulations:

Information sheet on The Environmental Permitting Regulations 2014 >>
WRAP plastics compositional analysis at MRFs >>

Government regulations and resources

The Regulations require MF operators to report the average (or arithmetic mean) percentage composition for target material, non-target material and non-recyclable material to the Environment Agency or Natural Resources Wales every quarter.

Materials facilities: how to report on mixed waste sampling (opens on Defra website) >>
Defra’s waste and recycling policy website >>
The Environmental Permitting Regulations 2014 >>

MRF Case studies

WRAP’s MRF case studies focus on MRF operators who have added value to their operations, using new and innovative processes or technologies to increase their efficiency or the quality and volume of reprocessed materials:

To find more case studies relevant to MRF operators, please check out our knowledge-base:

Case studies in MRF operators >>

Where next?

Want to know more about MRFs in collections and sorting? Take a look at our reports, guides, tools and case studies for further information:

Reports >>
Guides >>
Tools >>
Case studies >>