MRF input quality continues downward trend

The tonnage of target material received at England’s materials recycling facilities continued in a downward trend for the fourth consecutive quarter, latest data suggests.

Figures published this week on WRAP’s Materials Facility Portal show that the average percentage of ‘target material’ received by responding MRFs in the third quarter of 2018 stood at 84.2% – a decrease of 0.6% since the previous quarter (see story).

On average, 84.2% of input material into England’s MRFs during Q3 2018 was ‘target material’

The Portal displays the input and output sampling data from MRFs, with input tonnage taken from mixed dry recycling and output focused on the glass, paper, metal and plastics material streams produced at the back end of facilities.

While having remained broadly flat since material quality data capture at MRFs first began in 2014, the latest figure represents the lowest percentage of ‘target material’ recorded as having been received by MRFs to date.

Data was reported from 88 facilities in England, and suggested that the total tonnage of mixed material entering these MRFs in Q3 2018 was 838,894 tonnes which is around 21,814 tonnes (2.5%) less than the previous quarter.

The data suggests that during the quarter both the percentage of non-target material (6%) – i.e material that is recyclable, but not intended for processing at the reporting facility – and non-recyclable material (9.7%), received at these facilities increased in Q3.

Paper continued to make up the largest percentage of target material received at 50.1%, followed by glass (19.2%), plastics (13%) and metals (6.6%).

At the back end, the data suggests that the total tonnage of ‘Specified Output Material’ leaving the responding facilities during the quarter was 627,740 tonnes. This is a decrease of 126,485 tonnes compared to the previous quarter. The lowest average percentage (by weight) of target material in the output material streams was plastic (89.7%), according to the data.