The relative costs of different waste treatment options have been outlined in a study by Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). The Gate Fees Report 2008 is based on a survey carried out in late 2007 and relies on information supplied by local authorities and waste management companies.

In the report WRAP say: “The aim of this study is to increase price transparency, and, through improving the flow of information, to enhance the efficiency with which the waste management market operates.”

Treatment Grade/material/type of facility Median Range
MRF Cans/plastic/paper/card
The above plus glass
-£4 – £70
Composting Open-air windrow
In Vessel
Anaerbobic digestion

n.a. £30-£60
Landfill Gate fee only
Gate fee plus landfill tax
Incineration All facilities
Post-2000 facilities

£53 n.a.
Wood reprocessors Grade A
Grade B
Grade D
Source: WRAP Gate Fees Report, 2008

According to LetsRecycle, “The survey, which was carried out across a broad regional distribution in England, Scotland and Wales, will be repeated on an annual basis to ensure that the market continues to have timely and accurate data”.

The report also includes the following:

At some stage, for some facilities, competition for material may become a more important determinant of price than increasing landfill cost, at least for the material that is not “locked in” to longer-term contracts…As competition increases, there may be greater potential for local authorities to ‘shop around’ to find the best deal.

For incineration, WRAP found that information on gate fees was ‘blurred’ because of the integrated nature of many contracts under which they were operated. In general terms, however, it found that older facilities had a lower gate fee than newer ones, possibly reflecting the nature of contracts and inflation. It added: “There is some evidence of economies of scale in costs – i.e. larger scale facilities exhibit lower unit treatment cots per tonne but the evidence that this implies lower gate fees is weaker.”

An earlier report, from February 2008, written by Eunomia Research & Consulting Ltd. in association with TOBIN Consulting Engineers, entitled Meeting Ireland’s Waste targets: The Role of MBT, also sets out the relative costs of various waste treatments.

Their assessment of the external costs of different options for dealing with residual waste indicates lower environmental costs associated with MBT operating in stabilisation mode than from the landfilling of untreated waste, or incineration.

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