Please see answers to our most commonly asked questions below.

Also see our New Waste Collection Service for 2023 leaflet for more information about each bin.

You can check which bin is due for collection with the Milton Keynes Collection Calendar

You can read the background information on the wheelie bins on this page.

Why are you doing this?

Moving to wheelie bins will help us all recycle more. Reducing our waste will reduce our impact on the planet and help respond to the climate emergency.

What are the benefits of changing to wheelie bins?

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

By changing to wheelie bins there are many advantages, including:

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

Residents in MK currently use 11 million single use recycling sacks annually. The new wheelie bins are made here in the UK in Rotherham. The main body of all the new bins and the black lids are made from 100% recycled High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) sourced in the UK. Old HDPE products, including old wheelie bins, are ground down, melted and then injection moulded to become our new bins. The only new plastic used is to make the red and blue lids. The wheelie bins are also recyclable.

What should I do with left over recycling bags?

If you have wheelie bins at your property, you can use clear recycling sacks to bag your non recyclable waste waste before placing in your black bin. If you are on a sack collection, you must use black sacks for your non recyclable waste.

Which properties are affected by the changes?

Only ‘street level’ properties – generally houses, or houses that have been converted into flats – are affected by the changes.

Other households, including flats above shops or properties with communal bins, typically including estates and new build blocks will not see any changes to waste collections.

All properties keep weekly food waste and recycling collections.

Are you doing this to save money?

These changes are aimed at increasing recycling rates and protecting the planet from the effects of waste disposal.

Because we are maintaining weekly collections, have provided new bins to every household and employed a team to help every household adjust to the changes, we’re not forecasting any overall cost savings for the foreseeable future.

This is about recycling more and responding to the climate emergency.

Do I have to have a bin?

We will only collect waste from the new bins provided by the Council. We will not collect from other bins.

What goes in each bin?

You can read more about what goes where here.

Also see our New Waste Collection Service leaflet.

Why are there 2 bins for recycling?

There is better quality recycling if we separate it. This is better for the environment and often means we can process it closer to home.

How often will the bins be collected?

Collected weekly

Black wheelie bin for waste that cannot be recycled

Green wheelie bin for food and garden waste

Small yellow battery bag, when full place on green wheelie bin when required

Collected alternate weeks

Black wheelie bin with a red lid for recycling paper and card

Black wheelie bin with a blue lid for recycling plastic, metals and glass

How big are the bins?

We have provided three 180 litre wheelie bins to street level properties in the city:

  • a red lidded bin for paper and card
  • a blue lidded bin for plastic, metal and glass
  • a black wheelie bin for non-recyclable waste

The bins provide more than enough space for an average household.

Larger households can also apply for a larger bin. An assessment will be carried out before providing this, to ensure that you are recycling everything possible.

To encourage households to recycle more, we will only collect waste that is contained within the new wheelie bins with the lid shut.

We will not collect rubbish bags left next to bins.

As there are various sizes of green wheelie bin in circulation, you will need to measure your own bin to find the dimensions. 

Dimensions of the new 180L bin

Red lid, blue lid and black wheelie bin 

Overall height lid (closed)


Width (at base, including wheels)   


Width (at top rim)


Wheel diameter




What are the criteria for properties not suitable for wheelie bins?

We have carried out surveys across the whole borough to determine which properties have space for four wheelie bins. Most properties in MK can have wheelie bins.

The criteria for not receiving the wheelie bins are;

  • No storage or space for the bins
  • No access
  • Limited storage for the bins
  • Limited access

Below are more detailed criteria for properties that are not suitable;

  • no rear, side access or front area
  • no point of collection
  • impractical to pull wheeled bins out e.g., through a narrow gate, down multiple steps, across very rough ground or through the house. This does not mean blocking access to a car / parking space on a personal driveway
  • inadequate space to store wheeled bins
  • dangerous to move wheeled bins from storage to presentation point
  • bin would have to be wheeled down steps/steep incline
  • no suitable presentation point at property boundary
  • collection crew would have to move wheeled bin more than 50 metres
  • no access to property boundary by collection vehicle
  • collection crew can’t collect bin from property boundary and return bin safely
  • communal property with insufficient space for required bins
  • bins would be kept outside windows at all times
  • bins would present a security risk due to storage locations

For those properties that are not suitable to have wheelie bins, there will be an alternative solution.

What are you doing to help people who find it hard to use a bin?

We will continue to offer assisted collections to elderly or disabled residents who can’t move their bin, following an assessment.

You can only request an assisted collection if you have no other help to move your bin. 

What if my rubbish won’t fit in my bin?

Typically, over half the waste thrown away as rubbish could be recycled.

Many items thrown away as rubbish should be recycled.

If you are recycling as much as you can each week and using all the recycling services provided, you will find that the waste that goes into your black bin is dramatically reduced.

Excess rubbish that does not fit in your bin (the lid must be closed) will not be collected. If you find you are struggling to fit all your waste in your bin it probably means you are not recycling as much as you could. You can contact us or see our advice about how you might be able to recycle more.

Dispose of large amounts of household waste at your local household waste recycling centres

What if we are a large family and produce more waste?

We are encouraging people to try out their new bins first, which should have more than enough space for most households.

Larger households may be allowed bigger bins.

Will you provide more bin space for families with newborn babies or those with sanitary waste?

If your household does produce a lot of nappies or incontinence pads you can apply for a larger bin.

We will carry out an assessment before providing this, to ensure that you are recycling everything you can.

I don’t generate enough waste to fill a 180 litre bin every fortnight. Can I have a smaller bin?

No, there are no smaller bins available.

The Council decided to collect with a 180 litre wheelie bin, because this size will provide enough space for waste.

I live in a house converted into flats, we recycle a lot, and we don’t need a 180 litre wheeled bin per household. Can we have one removed?

Yes, as long as all neighbours agree, households will be able to contact us to remove a wheelie bin.

Most of my street is already recycling. What are you doing to improve the recycling services in blocks of flats ?

Blocks of flats receive a communal service and are provided with an adequate number of waste and recycling bins for the number of properties.

We are doing lots of work to improve the recycling facilities and performance in blocks of flats.

They receive a communal recycling service and need different solutions to increase recycling rates.

Do items have to be bagged when placed in bins?

We would prefer that you bag your non-recyclable rubbish to help keep your black bin clean. Your recyclable items should be put into the red and blue bins loose.

What if I’m not sure if something can be recycled?

You can check our recycling A to Z

Can I put broken glass into my blue lid wheelie bin?

Glass bottles and jars only can be put in the new blue lid wheelie bin, and it is ok if they break when this happens.

Remember: place all other types of glass, such as mirrors, drinking glasses, spectacles, panes and light bulbs, in the black wheelie bin as these items cannot be recycled.

What do I do with large amounts of garden waste?

For properties with large gardens which regularly fill more than one green bin please look to compost your garden waste.

Garden waste can also be taken to one of our Household Waste Recycling Centres.

I don't have food and garden waste to fill a green wheelie bin - what is the alternative?

For properties with a small or no garden, a 23l green caddy with lock down lid can be provided instead of the green wheelie bin, to store food waste.

What is happening with the food and garden waste collections?

All types of green bin, including the 23l caddy will continue to be collected weekly. We recommend to use your 140L wheelie bin as it makes easier for our crews to collect.

Where should I store my bin?

You should store your bin on your property, for example within your front garden.

If there isn’t space at the front of your property, we would expect you to consider all options to keep your bin elsewhere on your property, such as in a rear garden.

We have undertaken a property survey to inform us of the space available and the storage options for each property in the borough.

Do not leave in the street or on public land.

I would like to build a bin store for my new bins

You may require planning permission.  You can apply for a Lawful Development Certificate to confirm whether it would be permitted development or, if planning permission is required, you can seek pre-application advice. Further information on this is available from our website

Where should I leave my bin for collection?

Your bins should be presented for collection at the front of your property, at the inside edge of your property boundary, by 7am on your collection day.

Waste will only be collected if it is contained in the bin and the bin lid is closed. Rubbish bags left next to the bin will not be collected.

What if I miss my collection?

If you miss your collection day wait until your next collection day to put your bins out.

Alternatively, you can take your waste and recycling to your local household waste recycling centres (the 'tip').

What happens if I’m on holiday and I miss my collection day?

If you miss your collection day you will need to wait until your next collection day to put your rubbish out.

What if the crews miss my rubbish bin?

You should report a missed collection and after investigation we will let you know if the crews will return to empty it. You have 48 hours to report your missed collection.

Who will clean my bins?

Residents can choose to clean their own bins, or there are businesses that do offer a bin cleaning service. If you do choose this option, it would be at your own expense.

What do I have to do now?

If you don’t already recycle, or want to recycle more, it might help to familiarise yourself with what items you can put in.

You can start by simply choosing a few items that you want to recycle, such as drinks cans or plastic bottles, and then move on to choose a few items to place in your food waste bin, such as plate scraps, fruit and veg peelings and teabags.

Recycling food waste also helps to keep your bins cleaner and stop them from smelling.

When you receive the bins you will also receive an information pack.

Round changes in the pilot area

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.

Are places of worship eligible for wheelie bins?

Places of worship may be eligible for a free collection and disposal of waste service for non-commercial activities and may be suitable to receive a set of wheelie bins. Please contact Customer Services directly on 01908 257070.

Waste and Recycling team contact information

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