Background information

Why are we changing to wheelie bins?

MK City Council’s ambition is to be a cleaner, greener and safer place to live, and changing to wheelie bins for the collection of rubbish and recycling is one of the ways we can achieve these aims.

Residents in MK currently use 11 million single use recycling sacks annually. By changing to wheelie bins there are many advantages, including:

  • higher levels of recycling
  • better quality recycled materials
  • lower rates of injuries for residents and to staff moving sacks
  • less street litter from sack spillage
  • more straight forward to monitor misuse of the bins, to support better recycling

The video below explains the Waste Collection Pilot in more detail.

For the city-wide rollout in 2023, the boxes will be replaced by red and blue sacks. Batteries will be collected from battery bags placed on top of the green wheelie bin.



The history of recycling in MK

Local charity group, Community Recycling Opportunities Programme (CROP) was responsible for the earliest collections from recycling banks in Milton Keynes in the 1980s.

The council then worked with CROP to start kerbside collection of recyclables from residents. A trial started in June 1990 in the Linford area using red recycling boxes for paper and a blue box for glass, plastic bottles, metal food and drinks cans. By 1992 this scheme had been successfully rolled out across MK.

In 2003, recycling sacks replaced the red box, improving recycling collections for mixed paper, cans and plastic bottles, with the blue box remaining just for glass. This system has remained in place until today.

The waste collection pilot

In October 2020 Milton Keynes Council launched a new waste and recycling collection pilot, using wheelie bins and boxes, covering almost 3,000 MK homes. The homes were chosen to cover a wide range of properties, with gardens and outside spaces of various sizes including more rural areas too. 

The pilot is a similar system to MK’s former red and blue collection system from the 1990s:

  • a black wheelie bin for waste that cannot be recycled
  • a wheelie bin with a red lid for paper and card
  • a wheelie bin with a blue lid for plastic, metals and glass
  • a yellow battery bag
  • no change to the food and garden waste wheelie bin
  • no change to properties which currently receive a communal collection

For properties not suitable for wheeled bins;

  • a red box with lid - for paper and card to be recycled
  • a blue box with lid - for plastic, metals and glass to be recycled
  • a yellow battery bag
  • no change to green bin

Residents on the scheme were asked to provide feedback on their thoughts and experiences with the new collection system. The lessons learned from this pilot and feedback from MK residents has been used to form the new waste collection service for 2023.

Wheelie bin street name list can be viewed on this page.

Wheeled bin pilot calendar 2023

Round changes in the pilot area - August 2023

We have increased the number of rounds in MK in recognition of the growth MK is experiencing and to ensure that the crews have enough time to collect and return wheelie bins to the boundary of the property. This will include some properties in the pilot area. If your collection day is to change, we will have included this in the letter that we recently sent to you. The information on the website now is for the collection service up until the end of August. From August, there will be an update to the website with a new collection day checker for changes that will be in place from September.

The waste consultation

In addition to the feedback from residents on the pilot, a borough-wide 12-week consultation on waste and recycling ran from November 2020 until the end of January 2021 and gave all MK residents the chance to have their say on the future of waste services.

Over 5,000 responses were received from residents. These responses, along with the feedback from residents on the pilot scheme, plus operational monitoring and data information collected, were all used to guide the council's decision for the future waste and recycling collections.

The delegated decision

A delegated decision was approved by councillors in March 2021 to go ahead with wheelie bins. Of the responses received from residents, 76% were in favour of wheelie bins and 74% in favour of receiving more wheelie bins to increase the level of recycling and to improve the quality.

Residents currently on the pilot scheme will remain so up to and into the new contract, starting in 2023.

Waste and Recycling Consultation Delegated Decision Report

Annex A Waste and Recycling Consultation Questions

Annex B Waste Collection Pilot Satisfaction Findings

Annex B Full Council Principles Waste Collection Pilot

Annex C Waste and Recycling Collection Consultation 2020-2021

Delegated Decision - 23 March 2021 - Waste Collection System


The waste consultation questions

This consultation provided the opportunity for residents and stakeholders to share views on the proposed waste collection service to be implemented from April 2023.

You can see the questions on this page.

Waste Collection Pilot

Waste Collection Pilot contact information

Milton Keynes Waste Recovery Park (by appointment only), Milton Keynes Waste Recovery Park, 9 Dickens Road, Milton Keynes MK12 5QF