This report summarises the methods and findings of a project to understand the impacts of enhanced material sampling on facilities that receive recyclables.
The consultation on Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging (EPR), published in March 2021 by the UK Government, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland, identified that a future EPR payment and recycling framework would rely heavily on data and evidence from across the waste management system.
This report outlines the methods and findings of a project to understand the impacts of an enhanced material sampling regime on material facilities (MFs) that receive recyclables.
A sampling costs survey and sampling trial were conducted by WRAP on behalf of The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to enable a better understanding of a proposed enhanced sampling regime to support EPR, including the costs and practical implications of its implementation.
Responses indicated that average additional capital costs for enhanced input sampling may be in the order of £10,800 for small MRFs up to £27,000 for large MRFs. Responses also indicated that average additional annual operational costs may be in the order of £31,800 for small MRFs up to £97,700 for large MRFs.
Trial partners also reported that:
- A fivefold increase in sampling frequency (from existing MF Regulations requirements) would be challenging.
- Increased sampling frequency resulted in operational delays.
- Differentiating between glass packaging and non-packaging glass was difficult.
- Space allocated for sample storage and sorting was often insufficient to facilitate enhanced sampling.
- Clear guidance, training, and sampling experience should increase sampling and reporting productivity and accuracy.
- A consistent approach should be introduced, if possible, across all UK nations.
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Summary of EPR sampling and reporting trials at materials recovery facilities
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