MRF gate fees rise while in the organic sector AD’s influence continues to grow

9th July 2014

MRF gate fees rise while in the organic sector AD’s influence continues to grow – WRAP publishes its annual Gate Fees Report

Gate fees charged at Material Recovery Facilities have increased slightly on the previous twelve months, while the number of local authorities surveyed who reported the use of anaerobic digestion (AD) facilities has almost doubled, reports WRAP. 

The overall UK median MRF gate fee paid by local authorities rose marginally to £10 per tonne this year, according to WRAP. Gate fees also rose for the small sample (14) of MRF contracts signed in 2013 and 2014, with a median gate fee of £0 per tonne compared to the median figure of minus £10 (-£10*) reported for the 11 new contacts struck in 2011 and 2012. 

The news comes as part of WRAP’s annual gate fees report: Comparing the Costs of Alternative Waste Treatment Options, the industry wide overview of charges across the UK for a range of waste treatment, recovery and disposal options. This is WRAP’s seventh annual gate fees report; one of the organisation’s most downloaded documents. 

Elsewhere, the report shows that the median gate fee paid for treating food waste at AD facilities remains steady at £40 per tonne, but varies due to a number of factors with a range from £19 to £63. WRAP notes, based upon survey responses that the uptake of AD technology by local authorities has increased over the last twelve months: almost twice the number of local authorities reported using AD facilities in the current survey than in the previous survey.

Marcus Gover, Director WRAP said; 

“Many factors influence individual gate fees and so costs vary substantially, both regionally and for the same types of treatment. In the case of MRFs, the range of gate fees is much broader than for other technologies and while some local authorities report receiving as much as £100 per tonne in income for their unsorted recyclate, others report paying up to £96 per tonne for their material to be sorted. This variation is related to a number of different factors which we outline in today’s report, which attempts to bring greater clarity to this very complex situation.”

Other changes noted include a greater number of local authorities reporting gate fee data for Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) or Mechanical Heat Treatment (MHT), which may indicate greater uptake of MBT/MHT technologies or for more facilities coming on-stream.  Currently, the median MBT/MHT gate fee at is £84 per tonne, up from £76 per tonne in the previous survey.

The median Open Air Windrow composting gate fee remains unchanged at £24 per tonne, as does the median charge for In-Vessel Composting (IVC) of ‘mixed food and green waste’ at £46 per tonne. The median IVC gate fee for ‘green waste only’ is £27 per tonne.  

The median gate fee for waste wood collected at HWRCs increased marginally to £32 per tonne. 

The sample of gate fees paid by local authorities at EfW facilities continues to depend on the age of the facility with the median cost at facilities built before 2000 remaining unchanged at £58 per tonne, and higher prices charged at plants built after 2000; averaging £96 per tonne, up £6 on the previous year.  

The median gate fee for non-hazardous waste to landfill increased to £102 per tonne, made up of a gate fee of £22 per tonne (up by £1 per tonne since last year) plus £80 per tonne in landfill tax** (up by £8 per tonne since last year).

WRAP’s gate fees report aims to increase transparency and improve efficiency in the waste management market. It is used by local authorities and the waste industry alike to better understand the complex market and focusses on the median and range of prices charged at facilities across the UK. 

  • To read the ‘Gate Fees: Comparing the Costs of Alternative Waste Treatment Options’ visit
  • * A negative gate fee is where a MRF is paying revenue to a local authority for the recovered materials sent to the MRF for sorting.
  • ** At the time of the survey the standard rate of landfill tax was £72 per tonne, this increased to £80 per tonne on 1 April 2014.
  • The Gate Fees Report surveyed local authorities and facilities in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland between December 2013 and February 2014. The survey covered both those procuring waste treatment, disposal and recovery services (local authorities) and service providers.
  • WRAP’s vision is a world without waste, where resources are used sustainably. We work with businesses and individuals to help them reap the benefits of reducing waste, develop sustainable products and use resources in an efficient way.
  • Established as a not-for-profit company in 2000, WRAP is backed by government funding from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • More information on all of WRAP's programmes can be found on
  • Follow us on Twitter at @Wrap_UK

Ian Palmer

PR Officer, WRAP
01295 819 677