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Requirements for materials recovery facilities (MRFs)

Potential rule changes for MRFS

DNR staff are revising administrative code for effective recycling programs. This includes code that affects self-certified MRFs serving recycling responsible units. The DNR held a feedback session May 3 to share draft concepts and solicit feedback. This session was during the rule drafting period and is in addition to formal public comment periods for the economic impact assessment and full rule package. Contact Jennifer Semrau with any questions.

A materials recovery facility (MRF) is a facility that processes materials for reuse or recycling as part of a responsible unit's (RU) recycling program. To qualify as an MRF that RUs may use, facility owners must do the following:

  • meet the general requirements for an MRF under ch. NR 544.16, Wis. Adm. Code [exit DNR];
  • be self-certified with the DNR prior to processing recyclable materials for an RU, and
  • annually renew the self-certification.

The MRFs that do not handle or process materials for an RU's recycling program do not need to be self-certified with the DNR. Also, MRFs that process only one recyclable material, such as newspaper, are conditionally exempt from self-certification provided they meet the general requirements for all MRFs.

Annual MRF self-certification

MRFs serving as part of an RU recycling program must submit an annual self-certification, on a form provided by the DNR, by March 30 of each year unless otherwise directed by the DNR.

For more information, see RU and MRF annual reports.


DNR staff periodically inspect MRFs that serve as part of RU recycling programs, with the objective of conducting an on-site inspection at least once every three years. The MRF inspection ensures compliance with management and reporting requirements under CH. NR 544.16, Wis. Adm. Code, and includes a review of information reported on the MRF annual self-certification form.

Beneficial reuse of container glass

Learn more about managing container glass in compliance with the land disposal ban, along with glass reuse and recycling options, in this DNR guidance document.

Invalidation of self-certification

The DNR may invalidate a self-certification if there are significant discrepancies between what is reported and what is actually found during a DNR inspection. A self-certification may also be invalidated if the MRF fails to submit the information required either to the DNR or to RUs.

An MRF can return to good standing and be re-certified if the DNR determines the facility is in compliance and has put in place appropriate policies and procedures to remain in compliance with the requirements in CH. NR 544.16 (3), Wis. Adm. Code. If the DNR determines it is necessary to invalidate an MRF's self-certification, the MRF must notify the RUs it serves of the change in status and of re-certification if/when granted.

Proper management of universal waste and electronics

The MRFs and other regulated facilities that handle electronics, universal wastes (e.g., fluorescent bulbs, batteries, antifreeze) and used oil must comply with federal and Wisconsin-specific handling requirements. The DNR may conduct a short assessment of how these materials are handled to ensure compliance with federal and state handling requirements. DNR hazardous waste staff will conduct any necessary follow up.

The following links have information on requirements and best management practices for manging universal waste and electronics.

The video below demonstrates best management practices for handling universal waste at drop-off sites.

Claiming Category 30 waste for residuals

MRF residues disposed of at the landfill in amounts up to 10 percent of the total material accepted at your facility each quarter are exempt from the state statutory fees. See WA-1755 for more information.