New Guidance for Material Sampling in the UK: Key Changes and Implications

New Guidance for Material Sampling in the UK: Key Changes and Implications

New Guidance for Material Sampling in the UK: Key Changes and Implications

New guidance for material sampling in the UK will be coming into place from 1st October 2024. This will have significant implications for Material Facilities (MF) operating within the waste management industry. If your MRF or Transfer Station processes more than 1,000 tonnes of waste per year or receives waste from multiple suppliers, it is crucial to familiarise yourself with these changes.

Material sampling is already a labour-intensive process, and these new requirements will intensify the need for labour resources. In this blog post, we will explore the key changes brought by the upcoming regulations.


Input Sampling: Increasing Frequency

Under the current MRF code of practice, Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) are required to take 60kg samples for every 125 tonnes received. However, starting from October 2024, the sampling frequency will increase to every 75 tonnes received, while the sample size remains unchanged. This represents a 66% increase in the number of samples to be taken and recorded.

To provide context, let’s consider a facility with an annual throughput of 50,000 tonnes. With the new regulations, the facility will need to record 667 input samples per year, compared to the previous requirement of 400 samples. This equates to an average of 2.5 input samples per day, assuming the facility operates only on weekdays.


Output Sampling: Adjusting Frequencies

Output sampling will not be as drastically affected as input sampling. For glass and metal, the sampling frequency will remain the same, with a 10kg sample for every 50 tonnes produced.

However, for paper and plastic, the regulations will increase the sampling frequency by 33%. Paper sampling will move from every 80 tonnes to every 60 tonnes, while plastics sampling will shift from every 20 tonnes to every 15 tonnes. Despite the change in frequency, the sample sizes for output materials will remain unchanged.


Packaging and DRS Packaging: Additional Recording Requirements

Under the new guidance, MRFs and Transfer stations will be required to measure and record the proportion of packaging and DRS (Deposit Return Scheme) packaging for both input and output materials. This additional step will add a new layer of complexity, particularly for materials covered by DRS, such as PET. Differentiating between DRS-eligible items like PET bottles and non-DRS items like PET trays will become necessary.


Introducing SortFlow IO: Streamlining Waste Audits

To help MRFs and Transfer Stations to comply with the new regulations more efficiently, we have developed SortFlow IO. This innovative Waste audit app enables more streamlined sample recording and automatic generation of EA compliance reports. It was developed in collaboration with Sherbourne Recycling who operates one of the largest and most technologically advanced MRFs in the UK.

To learn more about SortFlow IO and improve your waste tracking and sampling process, book a demo on our website at or reach out to us via email at

For a comprehensive understanding of the upcoming regulations, please refer to the official guidance document: Guidance – Materials facilities: waste sampling and reporting from October 2024


Luc Mallinger

SortFlow Limited 2023