The latest gate fees trends revealed by WRAP

7th July 2015

WRAP’s Gate Fees Report: comparing the cost of alternative waste treatment options (2014/15) shows that fees remain relatively constant for most waste treatment and disposal options, with gate fees at Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) and Energy from Waste facilities (EfW) differing the most from the previous annual assessment.

Based on information from local authorities and waste treatment companies, the report presents the median and range of gate fees for a variety of recycling and waste treatment options.

The median gate fee paid by authorities for MRF services is £6 per tonne in 2015, less than the median of £10 in 2014*. The range of gate fees at MRFs is much wider than for other services, and while some local authorities report receiving as much as £43 per tonne in income for their unsorted materials, others report paying up to £86 per tonne to their MRF.  A total of 33 local authorities (40%) reported that they either pay no gate fee, or receive payment from the MRF for their material.

Looking to the future, the majority of local authorities questioned (65% or 99 local authorities) said they expected MRF gate fees to increase. The factors cited for this were market prices for sale of recovered materials and the quality of input material.

Marcus Gover, Director WRAP said, “Finding a clear picture of treatment costs in the UK is a difficult task.  Our gate fees report highlights how variable charges are for waste management options, and how difficult this market can be to navigate without help.  In a time when budgets are stretched, and with the backdrop of a more volatile market for secondary materials, our gate fees report remains a key resource authorities can use to help inform local decisions.”

Gate fees for organics and composting remain in line with previous years.  The median gate fee for Open Air Windrow (OAW) composting for green waste remains at £24 per tonne, unchanged from the previous two surveys.  The median In-Vessel Composting (IVC) gate fee for mixed food and green waste is also unchanged from the last two surveys, standing at £46 per tonne.  While the median charge paid by local authorities for food waste treated at Anaerobic Digestion (AD) facilities stays at £40 per tonne.  Feedback from AD operators indicates that gate fees for food waste from commercial and industrial sources are below those charged for household food waste.

There has been a marginal rise in the median gate fee paid for recycling and recovery of waste wood (all grades) collected at Household Waste Recycling Centres – up £3 to £35 per tonne.  A similar small rise has been noted in the treatment of waste at Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) facilities, up to £88 per tonne compared to £84 in the previous survey.

The largest increase in median gate fees is seen in EfW facilities constructed before 2000.  Here fees have risen to £73 per tonne, up from £58.  WRAP believes this difference is due to it receiving more responses for pre-2000 facilities in this year’s survey than in the last.  The median EfW gate fee for facilities constructed after 2000 is £99 per tonne, up £5 per tonne on last year. 

Notes to Editor

Summary of gate fees from the 2014/15 gate fee survey (£ per tonne)

TreatmentMaterial / Type of facility / Grade  Median Range
 MRF1 Gate fee for sorting four or more materials (all contract years) £6 -£43 to £86
  Contracts beginning in 2014 or later sorting four or more materials £0 -£35 to £34
 Organics Open-air windrow (OAW)2 £24 £12 to £53
  In-vessel composting (IVC)3 £46 £24 to £75
  Anaerobic Digestion (AD)4 £40 £11 to £60
 Wood Waste All grades/types collected from HWRCs5 £35 -£4 to £90
 MBT Household waste £88 £68 to £107
 EfW6 Pre-2000 facilities £73 £36 to £110
  Post-2000 facilities £99 £65 to £132
 Landfill Gate fee only £20 £9 to £55
  Gate fee plus landfill tax7 £100 £89 to £135

 Table notes:

1. MRF gate fees reported here exclude haulage costs but include material revenues. 

2. This gate fee is for green waste being sent to OAW facilities by local authorities.

3. This gate fee is for mixed food and green waste being sent to IVC facilities by local authorities under a contract. 

4. This gate fee is for food waste only being sent to AD facilities by local authorities under a contract.

5. Local authority reported gate fees for the onward management or treatment of waste wood

6. Incineration with energy recovery. Defra figures on gate fees for PPP/PFI projects have not been included in the summary report this year, as the Defra figures are very similar to those reported here and therefore provide little additional information

7. At the time of the survey the standard rate of landfill tax was £80 per tonne (i.e. from April 2014)

  • To read Gate Fees Report 2014/15: Comparing the Costs of Alternative Waste Treatment Options visit 
  • *This year’s median MRF gate fee (£6 per tonne) is not directly comparable with the median MRF gate fee from the 2013/14 survey (£10 per tonne) due to the differences in how the sample was selected. The 2013/14 median MRF gate fee is based on all material streams, whereas this year’s equivalent is based on gate fees for MRF contracts that sort four or more materials. While the median MRF gate fees for the 2 years are not directly comparable, they can be used as a guide to show the direction of change.
  • This survey of facilities in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland was conducted between December 2014 and March 2015. 

1. WRAP’s vision is a world where resources are used sustainably. It works in partnership with governments, businesses, trade bodies, local authorities, communities and individuals looking for practical advice to improve resource efficiency that delivers both economic and environmental benefits. 

2. Our mission is to accelerate the move to a sustainable resource-efficient economy through: 

a. re-inventing how we design, produce and sell products,

b. re-thinking how we use and consume products, and

c. re-defining what is possible through re-use and recycling.

3. First established in 2000, WRAP is a registered charity.  WRAP works with UK governments and other funders to help deliver their policies on waste prevention and resource efficiency.  WRAP is a registered Charity No 1159512 and registered as a Company limited by guarantee in England & Wales No 4125764. Registered office at Second Floor, Blenheim Court, 19 George Street, Banbury, Oxon, OX16 5BH.


Ian Palmer

PR Officer, WRAP
01295 819 677