New wheelie bins roll out across the city from Monday 4 September

Blue and black bin

Milton Keynes’ new greener and modernised waste collection service starts on Monday 4 September.

Milton Keynes was the first place in the UK to introduce kerbside recycling (in 1992) and is now aiming to become the country’s greenest weekly waste and recycling collection to help battle climate change.

While already in the top 20% of council areas for recycling, the end of a 15 year waste contract gave Milton Keynes City Council a massive opportunity to consult local people on whether to introduce wheelie bins in order to improve recycling rates and quality, as well as to use less plastic, keep streets cleaner and help prevent pests. In what was the city council’s most responded-to consultation, three quarters of residents who responded preferred a move to wheelie bins.

The city council has also taken the opportunity to invest in 129 (which include 65 new waste collection vehicles) new state-of-the-art vehicles, including some smaller vehicles that can negotiate tighter spaces. All the vehicles have 360-degree cameras on board to improve safety and record any issues, as well as electric bin lifts which cut fuel consumption and emissions by around 10%. Four of the vehicles are electric and over time the fleet will become almost entirely electric.

The vast majority of residents will move to wheelie bins including two bins for recycling (red lid for paper and card and blue lid for plastic, metal and glass) although some households who have no space or access for bins will remain using sacks – also separating waste into red and blue sacks. Separating waste in this way is a proven technique to improve recycling rates and quality. Residents can now put glass bottles and jars into their blue lid bin or sack instead of using a separate container.

Collections remain weekly, with red and blue recycling collected on alternate weeks. As waste and recycling will be collected in different vehicles to prevent contamination, a household may receive more than one collection with bins/sacks picked up at different times on the same day.

“This is a significant project that’s been years in the making and we’re confident it will lead to better recycling, cleaner streets, and less pests. I’d like to thank all residents for helping us make this shift to a cleaner and greener city and especially for everyone’s patience in the early days. As you would expect with a project of this scale, we’ll be learning and improving as we go.”
- Cllr Lauren Townsend, Cabinet Member for the Public Realm

The city council has written to all homes to explain what items go into each bin or sack and published this information on its website. You can also check online whether it’s a ‘blue or red collection’ week, and what day of the week your waste collection is at