The Istanbul composting and recycling plant, constructed in 2001, is one of the few composting plants in Turkey. During test operations of the plant, it was reported that the weight of the oversize materials (OM) above a 80-mm sieve was about 40% of the total incoming waste. They mainly consist of plastic bags that were full of garbage, which resulted in operational problems in the plant. In this paper, the composition of OM was determined and evaluated, particularly to find the economic losses in the plant. It was determined that approximately 58% of the OM transferred to the landfill area due to operational failures and interruptions could be used at the plant with improved operational conditions. Otherwise, the plant would realize an annual economic loss of about 640,800 US$. Compost quality in the plant has been satisfactory, but source separated collection, at least the separation of the wet from the dry fraction, is needed to increase the amount of compost and recovered materials. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.