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WRAP reveals the updated charges for waste treatment, recovery and disposal options in its Gate Fees Report 2012
Local authorities are either paying reduced materials recycling facility (MRF) gate fees, or are receiving payment for recovered materials, according to WRAP’s Gate Fees Report 2012, released today (9 July).
The fifth annual report, which compares charges found at facilities and local authorities across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland between November 2011 to February 2012, aims to ‘disseminate information on gate fees thereby increasing price transparency and enhance the efficiency with which the waste management market operates’ in order to provide local authorities with ‘important market information to help them make informed decisions regarding waste treatment and disposal’.
David Lerpiniere, Technical Director of Waste Management & Resource Efficiency at environmenal consultancy AEA, told Resource: "It’s important to be cautious in analysing data of this type, especially given the rapidly evolving nature of the UK waste sector and the range of factors that affect the costs for waste contracts", adding that the wide variation in prices is not just down to regional capacity and the details of contracts, but is also due to the "volatility in the materials markets" over recent years.
These all attribute to the "significant" effect on the prices local authorities have been able to get for their recyclables, with "winners and losers often being decided by the timing of contracts and the appetite for risk".
Lerpiniere went on to warn that a broad range of prices may continue, with quality of waste streams being an increasingly important determinant of price. "In effect, those local authorities that can maintain quality and segregate valuable materials, such as clean wood, are likely to continue to reap the benefits and obtain prices at the top of the curve", said Lerpiniere.
One of the most notable findings in the report is that the median MRF gate fee has dropped from £15 per tonne in 2010/2011 to £9 a tonne in 2011/2012, with contracts starting in 2011 or later paying out rather than charging a median of £26 per tonne for recovered materials.
The change from MRFs asking for payment to recycle materials to paying for materials coming in reflects the recent rises in material prices and highlights the shift in mentality from seeing materials as ‘waste’ to seeing them as a valuable ‘resource’.
Steve Creed, Director of Market Economics WRAP, introduced the report, saying: “This year’s Gate Fees Report highlights the growing number of cost-effective alternative waste management opinions to landfill, underlining the economic and environmental savings we can make if we do not bury our waste in the ground.
“MRF gate fees have continued to fall and are substantially lower than reported in our previous surveys. Many local authorities say that they are either not paying gate fees, or are receiving payment for their recovered materials.”
The report warns that considerable variation in gate fees may exist for similar treatment or disposal options within and between regions and countries and that the gate fee information does not take into account collection costs.
Some of the key findings identified by the report include:
- IVC (in-vessel composting) gate fees vary substantially with food waste mixed with garden waste and card attracting higher gate fees (£55 per tonne median), followed by food waste only (£49 per tonne median) and mixed food & garden waste (£44 per tonne median)
- IVC gate fees for garden waste are down by around £10 to £25 per tonne
- The median gate fee for anaerobic digestion (AD) facilities is down from £43 to £41 per tonne
- The median gate fee for the onward management of woodwaste collected from household waste recycling centres is £26 per tonne
- The median gate fee for energy-from-waste (EfW) facilities is £65 per tonne (with a range from £32 to £101 per tonne).
- The median mechanical biological treatment (MBT) gate fee is £79 per tonne
- The median landfill gate fee for non-hazardous material (inclusive of the standard rate of landfill tax) is £85 per tonne.
- The median gate fee for OAW (open-air windrow composting) is little changed from last year.
The Gate Fees Report 2012 can be found on the WRAP website.
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