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 quarter 1 2018 have now been published below.

The eligible container factors for quarter 1 2018 of the NSW Container Deposit Scheme were developed in conjunction with the MRF Protocol Sampling Plan and approved by the Ministerial Advisory Committee on 24 April 2018.

The eligible container factor for glass is to be used for calculating refunds under the Bottle Crushing Service Operators Refund Processing Protocol.

Note: As the Scheme commenced on 1 December 2017, quarter 1 includes the months of December 2017, January 2018, February 2018, March 2018. Subsequent quarters will comprise only three months.

Table 1: Eligible Container Factors – Quarter 1, 2018
(Count eligible per kilogram by material stream).

Material Factor (eligible ct / kg)



PET segregated


HDPE segregated


Mixed segregated


Mixed combined




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

Registrations have now closed for MRF operators intending to make a claim in the first quarter (1 December 2017 to 31 March 2018).

If you did not register, but intend to claim using the MRF Protocol in the future, email

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.

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) has been developed for these operators that allows them 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.

The protocol was published in the NSW Government Gazette on 27 April 2018.

Forms for MRF operators

In order to be eligible for a claim, the following processes apply.


Submit to


Submission method

Information for auditors form



This form was emailed to all operators and must be submitted by 10 November 2017.

By email to

Monthly reporting

Scheme Coordinator


Operators must report:

(1) The total measured weight of each relevant 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

to the Scheme Coordinator via the reporting portal within 14 days after the end of each month.

Via the reporting portal link that will be available at

Quarterly claim form


Scheme Coordinator


Quarterly claims must be submitted via the reporting portal within 28 calendar days of the end of the quarter.

Via the reporting portal link that will be available at

MRF claim method nomination form


As part of the initial registration process, MRF operators nominated the claim method for each material type. To change the nominated method, complete and submit the form at least 28 calendar days before the commencement of the quarter for which the changed method will be used.

By email to

MRF output material type assessment form


To apply to have a new output material type assessed for inclusion in the list of material types complete and submit the form 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.

By email to

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