Materials facilities: how to assess, notify, sample and report

Guidance for waste operators on their responsibilities to notify us, pay a fee and provide waste returns

Materials facilities - often called materials recycling facilities - sort recyclable waste into reusable materials. Operators of regulated materials facilities in Wales must:

  • tell us when their own assessment shows that they meet the definition of a materials facility
  • pay us a subsistence fee
  • sample incoming and outgoing wastes
  • analyse the composition of samples
  • report results to us quarterly

Self-assess your waste facility

Your facility may be a materials facility if all the following apply:

  • You have an environmental permit that allows the intake of mixed dry household or household-like material
  • Any of the mixed dry household or similar waste you intake is made up of at least 50% by weight of two or more of glass, metal, paper or plastic
  • Your annual intake is at least 1000 tonnes of this material
  • You sort the material into two or more of the following target materials: glass, metal, paper or plastic for recycling

As an operator, you must self-assess whether your facility falls within the definition of a materials facility.

You will need to reassess whether your facility meets the definition at the beginning of each reporting period. 

Tell us that you operate a materials facility

If your assessment shows that you operate a materials facility, you must notify us by the end of the quarterly reporting period in which you assessed it.

Quarterly reporting periods are from:

  • 1 January to 31 March
  • 1 April to 30 June
  • 1 July to 30 September
  • 1 October to 31 December

Email us at waste.returns@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk to tell us that your facility is a materials facility.

We will charge you a subsistence fee as described in our charges scheme.

Tell us that your facility is no longer a materials facility

As an operator, you should tell us if the facility no longer meets the definition of a materials facility.

Email us at waste.returns@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk to tell us that you are withdrawing your notification.

Sample and measure waste inputs and outputs

Operators must sample and measure mixed waste inputs and recycling output streams quarterly.

Use the Waste and Recycling Action Programme (WRAP) guidance on how to do the required sampling and analysis of composition. These are the minimum acceptable standards.

Submit your waste return

Materials facilities operators must submit their waste return to us quarterly. Find out how and when to submit your return.

Our inspections

We will inspect materials facilities to:

  • check the sampling procedures that have been put in place
  • audit the data sent to us against what is observed on site

We will arrange at least one annual visit with operators to enable our officers to observe the sampling and compositional analysis on site. We will verify that the appropriate standards are being used and advise where improvements are required.