Municipal solid waste (MSW) disposal is a serious environmental issue requiring immediate solution and good waste management strategy. Mechanical-biological treatment (MBT) plants offer the opportunity to reduce the amount of MSW that is, otherwise, disposed of in landfills. Up to 40% of MSW is converted to waste fuel, also called refuse-derived fuel (RDF). Gasification is a promising alternative of RDF processing. It can be defined as high temperature treatment of the feedstock with lower than stoichiometric amount of oxygen resulting mainly in a gaseous product (syngas). High hydrogen content, specific ratio of H2/CO, and low tar content are important parameters of syngas for its application in both energy production and chemical synthesis. Reduction of tar content in syngas can be achieved by catalytic tar cracking. In this work, a catalyst prepared from natural clay was characterised by thermogravimetric, specific surface area, X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analyses. Catalyst activity was tested in two reactions, namely in decomposition of model tar constituent, p-xylene, and in cracking of tar produced in RDF gasification experiments. Influence of the reaction temperature and the amount of catalyst on the p-xylene conversion and products' distribution was studied. The results proved high catalytic activity of the prepared catalyst in the decomposition of p-xylene. Coupled RDF pyrolysis and the produced volatiles gasification experiments were carried out in a two-stage laboratory scale reactor using a bed of tar cracking catalyst in the second stage. Tar decomposition experiments were carried out at the reactor temperatures of 700-850 °C applying different amounts of catalyst (0.75 g, 1 g, 1.25 g, 1.5 g, 2 g and 4 g) per 1 g of pyrolised RDF. Results indicate that the presence of catalyst had significant effect on both tar cracking efficiency and gas composition. Loss of the catalyst specific surface area was observed when the experiments were carried out at temperatures exceeding 800 °C. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.