Gate fees survey shows significant increase in fees

WRAP has launched its annual study into the gate fees paid at waste treatment facilities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, providing a snapshot of the market. It has revealed a significant increase in the fees charged by Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs).

In its ninth edition of the Gate Fees Report, which covers the period 2015/16, WRAP has investigated the fees charged to local authorities for a range of municipal waste recycling, recovery, treatment and disposal options. The charity has calculated the median range of gate fees for a number of waste treatment options, based on correspondence with local authorities and waste management companies.

The study found that whilst gate fees across a range of technologies remained stable between January 2015 and January 2016, Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) gate fees have increased significantly, with the median fee rising to £25 per tonne from £6 last year.  WRAP attributes this rise to changes in commodity markets and end market prices for recovered materials.

Key findings of the study were:

  • The median gate fee paid by local authorities for MRF services is £25 per tonne in 2016, whilst in 2015, the median MRF gate fee was £6 per tonne. The range of gate fees at MRFs is much wider than for other technologies, and while some local authorities report receiving as much as £62 per tonne in income for their materials, others report paying up to £89 per tonne to their MRF.  A total of 30 local authorities (28%) reported that they either pay no gate fee, or receive payment from the MRF for their materials, compared with 46% last year.
  • Of the 122 councils surveyed that expressed an opinion, 98 (80 per cent) expect MRF gate fees to increase in the future. This expectation was based on market prices for sale of recovered materials and the quality of input material.
  • The median fee paid for recycling and recovery of waste wood (all grades) collected at Household Waste Recycling Centres has remained the same as last year, at £35 per tonne. The median gate fee for treatment of waste at Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) facilities is slightly below that in the previous survey.
  • Energy from waste facilities constructed before 2000 have seen a decrease in median gate fees, falling from £73 per tonne to £58 per tonne. The difference appears to be due to differences in the sample response (i.e. local authorities reporting figures this year that did not report last year) rather than a move in the market. The median EfW gate fee for facilities constructed after 2000 is £95 per tonne, slightly down from £99 per tonne last year.
  • Gate fees for organics and composting remain on par with previous years. The median charge paid by local authorities for collected household food waste treated at Anaerobic Digestion (AD) facilities stays at £40 per tonne. Although the figure remains unchanged, recent market changes have meant that the overall range has expanded, with some local authorities indicating AD gate fees are as low as £0 per tonne.

The annual study into gate fees aims to increase transparency in the waste treatment market by ensuring that local authorities are better informed on the market prices for different services. The report provides information that WRAP hopes will improve the efficiency of the procurement and provision of these waste management services.

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Image supplied by WRAP.

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