A "material recovery facility operator" (MRF) means:
- 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:
- 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
- is approved in writing by the EPA as a material recovery facility operator for the purposes of this Part, or
- 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.
The EPA has made an update to the Protocol, which was gazetted on Friday 7 February 2020. This key change will allow for MRF Operators to claim processing refunds for unprocessed materials received from other MRF Operators if certain criteria is fulfilled in line with the requirements of the Scheme Coordinator, Exchange for Change.
This update will become effective from the Quarter 3 2021 period, and any claims for transferred material will need to follow all the rules outlined in the updated Protocol.
More guidelines and information on Inter-MRF Transfers can be found under Section 8 of the MRF Protocol (PDF 348KB).
If you wish to claim an Inter-MRF Transfer, please email Exchange for Change at email@example.com to request an application form.
MRFs claiming inter-MRF transfer material will need to meet the requirements of the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery (Container Deposit Scheme) Regulation 2017 cl 18 (2). Councils may need to enter into refund sharing agreements with additional MRF Operators and notify the EPA in order to meet these obligations.
Further planned changes to the Protocol will be consulted with industry prior to finalisation which is scheduled for early 2020. Should Councils or MRF Operators have any concerns, they can be raised during the consultation process.
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:
- 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.
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 4 2019 the eligible container factors are approved by the State Representative. Approval dates are stated in the table under each quarter. Quarters are calculated by financial year.
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).