Government publishes MRF Code of Practice regulations


The MRF Code of Practice regulations have been laid before Parliament to become law.

Defra yesterday published its response to the consultation on the Code of Practice and will now insert the measures into the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales)(Amendment)(No.3) Regulations 2014.


Following the consultation, the Government has decided to include the requirement to monitor quality in order to comply with the revised Waste Framework Directive and its objective to promote high quality recycling and separate collections.

However, following representation from waste management companies, Defra has dropped the requirement to sample residual waste.

Defra also pledged to work with the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales to improve enforcement of the Transfrontier Shipment Regulations as the MRF regulations should also provide a large amount of information about the quality of MRF outputs.

It is also looking into levelling the playing field that gives incentives to exporters under the PRN/PERN system compared to domestic recyclers.

MRFs that handle less than 1,000 tonnes per annum will be excluded from the regulations, but this will be kept under review in case it leads to loopholes.

Although the MRF Code of Practice will come into effect from March, sampling and reporting requirements will apply from 1 October 2014.

Defra also said that it will “continue with our preferred option for full transparency as set out in the consultation document”. WRAP is working on a reporting tool for MRFs to report their sampling results with support from Defra, Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales.

However, Defra has decided against proposals to introduce independent audits of MRFs, and instead the function to inspect MRFs will be undertaken by the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales.

Defra also decided against a proposal to include minimum contamination standards, but will instead provide transparency and information on the quality of recyclates as the market “will itself determine the standards that are required and those standards need to be flexible in order to reflect the costs involved and the need for different quality specifications for different products”.

To see the Government response in full, visit

If you would like a free trial to our weekly Intelligence materials pricing and analysis report, email