Material recovery facility operator

Material recovery facilities are an important part of the Return and Earn container deposit scheme. MRF operators are able to claim processing refunds from the container deposit scheme Scheme Coordinator quarterly, as follows.

A "material recovery facility operator" (MRF) means:

  1. a person who carries on a business that is or includes the processing for reuse or recycling of domestic waste designated for recycling and collected by that or any other person during the course of domestic waste management services and who:
    1. holds an environment protection licence under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 authorising the processing of the waste (otherwise than by thermal treatment) at specified premises, or
    2. is approved in writing by the EPA as a material recovery facility operator for the purposes of this Part, or
  2. any other person of a class prescribed by the regulations.

MRF Processing Refund Protocol

Under section 28 of the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Act 2001, the Scheme Coordinator, on receiving a valid processing refund claim, is required to pay processing refunds to MRF operators for the containers they collect. A Protocol (PDF 1.2MB) has been developed which sets out the methodology to be applied in determining the amounts payable to MRF operators as processing refunds.

Under the Protocol, MRFs have two options for claiming a refund for the containers they process:

  • Weight: MRFs can estimate the number of eligible containers that they send offsite for reuse or recycle, using weights of material types multiplied by the eligible container factor. 
  • Direct count: MRFs can count each eligible container that they send offsite for reuse or recycle.

MRF operators need to register to make a claim; see the registration section below for details.

Eligible Container Factor

The eligible container factors are state-wide averages of the number of eligible containers in each kilogram of a material type (eg glass or PET). These factors are calculated by an independent statistician, using sampling data collected from MRFs, and kerbside audits conducted in accordance with the Sampling Strategy. The factors will be published quarterly by the EPA.

There is an eligible container factor for each of the following material types:

  • Aluminium.
  • PET segregated.
  • HDPE segregated.
  • Mixed segregated: For MRFs which segregate PET and HDPE plastic types, this category refers to the remaining plastic types, in aggregate.  
  • Mixed combined: This category applies to MRFs which do not segregate plastic types, and refers to all plastic types, aggregated.
  • Glass.

If MRFs have chosen to use the ‘weight’ method for claiming a refund on eligible containers, they will need to weigh the nominated material type, and use the Eligible Container Factor to calculate how many containers they have sent offsite for reuse or recycle, based on this weight.

The eligible container factors for 2018 and 2019 of the NSW Container Deposit Scheme were developed in accordance with the MRF Protocol Sampling Strategy. Previously the eligible container factors were approved by the CDS Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC). However, as of quarter 2 2019 the eligible container factors are approved by the State Representative. Approval dates are stated in the table under each quarter.

The eligible container factor for glass is to be used for calculating refunds under the The Bottle Crushing Service Operator Processing Refund Protocol (PDF 521KB).

 

Eligible container factors January to December 2019

(Count eligible per kilogram by material stream)

   Factor (eligible ct / kg)
Material Quarter 1
Jan - Mar
Quarter 2
April - June
Quarter 3
July - Sept
Quarter 4
Oct - Dec

Aluminium

51.83

47.38

45.98

 

PET segregated

14.26

12.19

10.39

 

HDPE segregated

0.51

0.41

0.42

 

Mixed Plastics segregated

2.56

2.16

3.29

 

Mixed Plastics combined

4.18

4.13

3.57

 

Glass

1.28

1.02

0.97

 

Approved 13 May 2019

Approved 12 August 2019 Approved 12 November 2019  

Eligible container factors December 2017 to December 2018

(Count eligible per kilogram by material stream)

   Factor (eligible ct / kg)
Material Quarter 1
Dec 2017 - Mar 2018
 Quarter 2
April - June 2018
 Quarter 3
July- Sept 2018
 Quarter 4
Oct - Dec 2018

Aluminium

59.17

 58.11  48.73  50.36

PET segregated

18.96

 13.90  12.69  13.3

HDPE segregated

0.69

 0.64  0.43  0.52

Mixed segregated

3.62

 2.83  2.82  2.62

Mixed combined

8.74

 5.44  4.70  4.06

Glass

2.25

 1.83  1.57  1.77

 

Approved 24 April 2018

 

Approved

10 August 2018
 

Approved

5 November 2018
 

Approved

31 January 2019

MRF Processing Refund Protocol Sampling Strategy

This sampling strategy (PDF 1.6MB) sets out the theory and methodology for the development of the associated MRF sampling plan, which is then implemented to generate the data for the development of the eligible container factors, as referred to in the MRF Protocol (July 2017)

MRF operator registration

Operators wishing to claim under the MRF or Bottle Crushing Protocol need to register with the EPA 28 days prior to the commencement of the quarter in which they wish to claim.

Email MRF.Protocol@epa.nsw.gov.au

 

Information for auditors

All MRF operators must complete the NSW Container Deposit Scheme – Information for Auditors Form. This form will provide sampling auditors with the necessary information to ensure that during facility visits by auditors, the collection, sorting and counting of samples is safe, efficient, and minimises the impact on the operation of the facility.

The EPA does not currently have a recommended list of registered auditors deemed appropriate for the Independent Assurance Report. The EPA recommends that you engage an independent assurance practitioner that meets the requirements listed under section 10.3 (9.3 for Bottle Crushers) (b) (i) or (ii) as soon as possible.

Double counting

If you make a claim under the MRF Protocol for a particular output material type, you cannot remove eligible containers of that same material type from the MRF and redeem them at a collection point – this is considered double counting. Double counting is a serious offence and significant penalties apply.

Bottle Crushing Service Operators Processing Refund Protocol

While bottle crushing service operators are prescribed as MRF operators under the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery (Container Deposit Scheme) Regulation 2017, the MRF Protocol does not apply to them.

The Bottle Crushing Service Operator Processing Refund Protocol (PDF 521KB) allows these operators to claim processing refunds for the eligible containers they collect. The Protocol sets out the methodology to be applied in determining amounts payable as processing refunds and requirements for record keeping and auditing.

Alternative Waste Treatment Facilities

The EPA has released the Draft Alternative Waste Treatment (AWT) Processing Refund Protocol for consultation. The AWT protocol sets out how AWT operators can claim processing refunds under the Container Deposit Scheme for eligible containers they collect and recycle.  The protocol sets out the methodology to be applied in determining amounts payable as processing refunds and requirements for record keeping and auditing. Download the Draft Alternative Waste Treatment Facility Processing Refund Protocol (PDF 589KB) and the Container Deposit Scheme - Alternative Waste Treatment Plant Operator Protocol Factsheet (PDF 141KB).

Submissions in relation to the Draft Protocol closed on 7 February 2019.

Reporting and change applications

Monthly reporting

Operators must report
(1) The total output material type (excluding any ‘Scheme material’) delivered from the MRF for reuse or recycling
(2) The total measured weight of ‘Scheme material’ delivered from the MRF by output material type

Submit via the reporting portal  within 14 days after the end of each month.

MRF annual recycling statement

An Annual Recycling Statement must be submitted on the MRF annual recycling statement (XLSX 58KB) for each MRF within 60 calendar days of the end of each year ended 30 June.
See Guidance notes (PDF 116KB)

Submit to

Bottle Crushers annual recycling statement

An Annual Recycling Statement must be submitted on the Bottle Crushers annual recycling statement (XLSX 60KB) within 60 calendar days of the end of each year ended 30 June.

See Guidance notes (PDF 114KB)

Submit to

Apply to change the nominated claim method

Complete and submit MRF claim method nomination form (DOCX 84KB) at least 28 calendar days before the commencement of the quarter for which the changed method will be used.

Submit to MRF.Protocol@epa.nsw.gov.au

Apply to have a new output material type assessed for inclusion in the list of material types

Complete and submit MRF output material type assessment form (DOCX 74KB) at least 28 calendar days before the commencement of the first quarter that a processing refund claim for the new output material will be lodged.

Submit to MRF.Protocol@epa.nsw.gov.au

Page last updated