Materials recovery facilities (MRFs)

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 a MRF under s. 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 s. NR 544.16, Wis. Adm. Code, and includes a review of information reported on the MRF annual self-certification form.

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 information required either to the DNR or to RUs.

A 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 s. NR 544 (3), Wis. Adm. Code. If the DNR determines it is necessary to invalidate a MRF's self-certification, the MRF must notify the RUs it serves of the change in status and of re-certification if/when granted.

Universal waste handling assessment

The MRFs and other regulated facilities that handle electronics, universal wastes (e.g., fluorescent bulbs, batteries, antifreeze). and waste 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 video below demonstrates best management practices for handling universal waste at drop-off sites.

Last revised: Thursday October 23 2014