What happens to my recycling?

Find out what happens to your recycling, watch the video and book on a tour of the factory

About the Recycling Factory

Milton Keynes Council Materials Recovery Facility is the Uk's first purpose-built recycling factory.

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               MK Recycling Factory

Built in 1993, this state-of-the-art sorting facility still processes the recycling from MK residents, where a range of technologies sort and separate the paper, cans and plastics, etc. This is then baled ready for transportation to be made into new recycled products (PDF, 604KB) - we even recycle the clear sack!

Watch our factory video or see below to book a tour. The MK Waste Recovery Park also offer tours where you can find out what happens to the rubbish from MK black bin bags.

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A one-pass lorry at the recycling factory

What happens to my recycling?

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.

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.

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

New for Summer 2019 - MK Museum Recycling Exhibition

From 20th July 2019 for 3 months MK Museum are kindly hosting our recycling display in the room next to the School Room. There you can learn more about what happens to your recycling and rubbish, how recycling started in MK 25 years ago and find out about how rubbish has been collected and dealt with through history.Entry to the exhibition room is included in the museum admission fee. Find out more about MK Museum.

Public Tours

Public tours are free and only available to Milton Keynes residents. Visits include:

  • 15 minutes look around our hands-on displays
  • 1 hour 30 mins interesting presentation. The talk clarifies what can and cannot be recycled in Milton Keynes, what it is all recycled into and answers any questions you may have
  • 5 minute video of recycling factory
  • Then safety gear on and a 20 minute tour into the factory along a raised viewing gallery to see the machinery and staff at work.

Children must be seven years or older for health and safety reasons. The facility is accessible to wheelchair users, but not mobility scooters. These tours are popular so booking is essential.

  • Saturday 31st August 2019, 10am to 12.30pm - Fully booked, waiting list full
  • Thursday 24th October 2019, 10am to 12.30pm - Fully booked, waiting list only
  • Thursday 5th December 2019, 10am to 12.30pm
  • Tuesday 11th February 2020, 10am to 12.30pm

The factory is operational Monday to Friday, 6am to 5pm.

To book your place complete the online booking form 

Recycling Factory address: Colts Holm Road, Old Wolverton, Milton Keynes, MK12 5QD

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School Tours

Free School trips to the Recycling Factory in Old Wolverton are hands-on, lively, educational, and are only available to Milton Keynes Schools. Visits include many curriculum links and aim to engage, enthuse and inform students about recycling, the environment and waste issues. The trip also helps students to understand that their actions make a difference. School trips are not available to schools outside the borough of Milton Keynes.

Find out more at the Schools Recycling Information webpage and download free classroom activities, crafts, wall displays and more to support your topic.

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Community Tours - no loner available

Local community group tours are no longer held at the Recycling Factory. Instead free tours of the MK Waste Recovery Parkare offered which explain how black bin bag waste is processed and also covers recycling in MK.

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Last Updated: 10 October 2019