Each year, Milton Keynes City Council handles around 125,000 to 130,000 tonnes of waste and recycling. More and more people in MK are motivated to get it right. The WRAP Recycling Tracker 2021, shows that 88% of households now consider recycling normal behaviour.

But, most people are putting at least one thing they shouldn’t into their recycling. Check through our information below to ensure you are up-to-date with what goes in each container for recycling and rubbish. Alternatively see our A to Z of recycling list. Watch the video below to see what goes in which bin/sack.

What goes in each container

In the red lid wheelie bin, red recycling sack and pink communal bin

Please note, recyclable items should be placed into the red lid wheelie bin loose.

For a complete list of what we can and cannot recycle please see our A to Z listing

Paper and cardboard allowed:

  • cards
  • cardboard
  • catalogues
  • clean pizza boxes 
  • envelopes, including window envelopes
  • leaflets
  • newspapers
  • shredded paper (shred as little as possible, preferably just the bit of paper with the sensitive information on it)

Paper not allowed:

  • laminated paper 
  • nappies (disposable or biodegradable)
  • disposable or compostable coffee cups 
  • padded envelopes
  • PPE disposable face masks
  • tissues, kitchen roll or cotton wool

Other items not allowed:

  • clothes, fabric or rags 
  • broken glass or china 

In the blue lid wheelie bin, blue recycling sack or pink communal bin

Please note, recyclable items should be placed into the blue lid bin loose.

For a complete list of what we can and cannot recycle please see our A to Z listing

Plastic allowed:

  • bottles - drinks and milk bottles. Wash, squash and lid back on
  • cleaning product bottles, including those with pumps and triggers
  • plastic pots, tubs and trays, including black plastic and ready meal containers
  • lids - loose plastic lids from bottles and jars
  • Tetrapak such as juice or milk cartons

Plastic not allowed: 

  • bubble wrap
  • wet wipes
  • crisp, biscuit, sweet packets or wrappers
  • fruit nets
  • hard plastics e.g. toys
  • pet food pouches
  • soft plastics e.g. plastic bags and cling film
  • polystyrene
  • items with food or drink still inside them

Metal allowed:

  • empty aerosol spray cans
  • food and drink cans
  • pet food tins
  • sweet and biscuit tins
  • clean tin foil or foil food trays
  • lids - loose metal lids from bottles and jars

Metal not allowed:

  • metal pans or tools
  • coffee capsules/pods

Glass allowed:

  • glass bottles 
  • wine bottles
  • glass jars

Glass not allowed:

  • drinking glasses or Pyrex (this melts at a different temperature to glass bottles and jars so can’t be recycled by our plant)
  • any other glass item such as perfume bottles, light bulbs or mirror

Please note that broken glass can be placed in the blue lid wheelie bin and pink communal bin, however if you are on a sack collection, broken glass should be wrapped to avoid injury and placed in the black sack.

In the green wheelie bin or 23l caddy

For a complete list of what we can and cannot recycle please see our A to Z listing

All food waste allowed, including: 

  • bread, baked goods
  • coffee grounds
  • dairy products
  • fruit and vegetables including peelings
  • mouldy or out of date food
  • pet food
  • plate scrapings
  • raw or cooked meat, fish or bones
  • tea bags

Garden waste allowed:

  • dead flowers
  • grass
  • leaves
  • plants
  • small branches up to 15 cm in diameter 
  • twigs
  • weeds
  • windfall fruit

    Compostable items allowed:

    • compostable cups and caddy liners that display the standard EN13432 or display the 'Seedling logo' 

    Garden waste not allowed:

    • branches over 15 cm in diameter 
    • Japanese knotweed
    • plant pots
    • soil

    Other items not allowed:

    • all animal waste, including dog poo, cat litter, hamster/gerbil bedding, etc.
    • items labelled 'compostable' that do not display the standard EN13432 or display the 'Seedling logo' 
    • items labelled ‘biodegradable' 
    • nappies - disposable or biodegradable

    In the yellow bag

    • household batteries - AA, AAA, C, D
    • laptop batteries 
    • mobile phone batteries

    Batteries not allowed:

    In the black wheelie bin, black bin bag and black communal bin

    Please note, waste should be bagged before placing in the black wheelie bin

    Most common items, including:

    • animal waste*, including dog poo, cat litter, hamster/gerbil bedding, etc.
    • biscuit wrappers
    • broken glass or china - please wrap to avoid injury
    • bubble wrap
    • clothes – poor quality
    • crisp packets
    • disposable coffee cups
    • disposable nappies - ensure they are double bagged
    • fruit nets
    • greasy pizza box 
    • laminated paper
    • mixed materials, e.g. pill packets, padded envelopes, Pringles tubes
    • pet food pouches
    • plastic film, e.g. clingfilm
    • polystyrene
    • PPE disposable facemasks
    • sanitary products
    • sweet wrappers
    • tissues and kitchen towel
    • wet wipes and sanitising wipes

    * All animal waste must be double bagged and/or sealed before it is put in your black sack with your other non-recyclable waste. If it’s on its own and not double bagged, it might not be collected by our crews.

    Black bin bags are not supplied by MKC Council.

    Think before you throw

    Let's get recycling right. Follow our 5 rules of thumb to help you recycle correctly: 

    • Update your recycling knowledge. Just because it looks recyclable, doesn’t mean we can recycle it here in Milton Keynes
    • If in doubt, leave it out. Being a good recycler is as much about what you leave out of your recycling as what you put in. If you’re unsure about anything, check the listing below, ask us or put it in your black wheelie bin or black sack
    • No food or drink at all should ever go in your recycling. Rinse out containers as food and drink can ruin paper for recycling
    • Make sure items are empty, clean and dry. Wet and dirty items can spoil other recycling while it is being processed 
    • Nothing else goes in your recycling. If you’re struggling with too much waste or aren’t sure how to recycle, see the information here or get in touch and we can help

    Frequently asked questions

    Green bin FAQs

    How do I order a new green bin and/or grey kitchen caddy.

    MK residents may order a free green bin and/or grey kitchen caddy online or call Customer Services on 01908 252570. Homes with little outside storage space can be supplied with a 23 litre green bin.

    What kind of caddy liners can I use?

    You can line your caddy with paper or corn starch liners as long as they meet the standard EN13432 and the Seedling logo is visible on the bags. Alternatively use a few sheets of newspaper or plain brown paper bags. 

    Do not use biodegradable plastic bags as these are not compostable.

    Can I put animal waste in the green bin?

    Animal waste is not permitted in the green bin, even from a vegetarian animal such as a rabbit. This is due to regulations covering animal bi-products and commercial composting. 

    What happens to my food and garden waste?

    Food and garden waste is sent to an In-vessel composting facility to create compost for agriculture.

    Do I have to use the grey kitchen caddy?

    No, the important thing is that food waste ends up in the green wheeled bin, not the black sack. The kitchen caddy is useful for collecting food waste to then transfer to the green bin outside. If you want to buy your own caddy or just use a piece of newspaper to collect vegetable peelings, etc. that’s fine.

    I home compost, I don't need a green bin

    If you home compost you can use your green bin for the items that you cannot compost at home, such as meat and bones.

    How can I clean my wheelie bin?

    To reduce the need for cleaning, it is best to wrap all food waste in newspaper and put your bin out for collection each week. See our video for top tips or use a bin cleaning service if you don’t want to do this yourself. 

    I’m worried about hygiene, smells and flies

    • Always ensure the lid of your caddy and green bin are shut
    • Empty the food waste into the outside green bin daily
    • Lining the caddy with newspaper or a EN13432 compostable caddy liner will help to keep it clean, and you should wash it frequently, as you would any ordinary bin
    • Put your green wheelie bin out for collection every week that it contains waste, no matter how small the amount

    Yellow bag FAQs

    How do I order a yellow battery bag?

    A replacement yellow bag should be left under the lid of your green wheeled bin when the full one is taken. If you require a yellow bag please email customerservices@milton-keynes.gov.uk or call 01908 252570 and we'll post one out to you.

    Can I put a battery that has leaked in the yellow bag?

    No, batteries that have leaked must be placed in the black bin bag as they may damage other batteries. Please place in the black bin bag.

    Can I recycle car batteries?

    The yellow bag is not suitable for car batteries, so please take to one of our Household Waste Recycling Centres instead.

    How are batteries recycled?

    All batteries collected in yellow battery bags are sent to furnaces where they are melted down, the metals and acid are extracted to be made into new recycled products, including new batteries.

    What is contamination?

    Wrong items placed in recycling containers are called contamination.

    Unfortunately, every week we see a lot of things in the recycling collections that shouldn’t be there, like dirty nappies, needles, glass bottles, food waste, medicine blister packs and old clothes. For instance, every day we find around 300 dirty nappies in clear recycling sacks.

    The contamination items have to be picked out from the good recycling, mostly by hand. This is not just unpleasant, but can be dangerous too. Dealing with contamination costs MKC Council hundreds of thousands of pounds each year. That’s money being wasted instead of being used to help local people.

    Waste and Recycling team contact information

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