What happens to my recycling?


About the MK Recycling Factory

The Materials Recovery Facility, also known as the Recycling Factory, is located in Old Wolverton and is owned by MK Council.

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               MK Recycling Factory

It is the UK's first purpose-built recycling factory. Built in 1993, this state-of-the-art sorting facility still processes the recycling from MK residents' clear recycling sacks

Here a range of technologies sort and separate the paper, cans and plastics. The different materials are then baled ready for transportation to be made into new recycled products (PDF, 334KB). We even recycle the clear sack!

Watch our factory video 

A one-pass lorry at the recycling factory

What happens to my recycling?

Paper is recycled into more newspaper, toilet rolls, tissues & egg boxes. Paper can be recycled 5 or 6 times before the fibres become too weak to be recycled. Its last life will be as a tissue.

Steel and aluminium cans are sent to furnaces where they are melted down and recycled to create another can. They are back on the supermarket shelf with new food or fizz inside in about 6 weeks!

Plastic is first flaked, then washed, dried and melted. Plastic bottles can be recycled into more bottles, traffic cones, wheelie bins, guttering, fluff in duvets, etc. Plastic food tubs, yoghurt pots, etc. can be recycled into a plastic board to be turned into products such as picnic tables or pig sties!

All glass bottles and jars collected from blue boxes are sent to Sheffield to be recycled. Here they are placed into a furnace where it is all melted down. The molten glass can then be re-moulded into new bottles and jars. When different colour glass bottles and jars are melted together it all turns green as this is the dominant colour.

Food and garden waste is sent to an In-vessel composting facility in Cambridgeshire to create a low grade soil conditioner for agriculture.

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

What happens to my rubbish?

Rubbish from MK residents black bin bags is sent to the MK Waste Recovery Park in Old Wolverton


All tours of the MK Recycling Factory ans MK Waste Recovery Park are currently suspended due to the Coronavirus

To register your interest on visit the factories when tours resume please email wasteeducation@milton-keynes.gov.uk Please note we only provide tours for MK residents and MK schools.


Last Updated: 12 January 2021