Waste collection pilot


A brief guide to the waste collection pilot in October 2020

Milton Keynes Council will be running a waste collection pilot to test a new collection system using wheeled bins and other waste solutions that could address the challenges faced by different estates.

The pilot will start in October 2020 and run until the end of February 2021. The pilot will cover almost 3,000 homes

The following areas will be part of the pilot.*

Areas covered by the wheeled bin pilot
Astwood Monkston (part)
Bletchley Monkston Park
Brooklands New Bradwell
Water Eaton (part) Chicheley
Grange Farm Hardmead
Lakes Estate (in part) Little Crawley 

* Not all streets will form part of the pilot. The full street list can be found here.

The pilot will help MK Council develop options for a borough wide roll out in 2023 when the existing collection contract expires.


MK is one the top recyclers in the UK and was one of the first places in the country to introduce separate kerbside recycling collection in the 1990s.

In 1990 MK Council trialled red boxes for paper (i.e. ‘read’ papers – red for paper) and blue boxes for glass, cans and plastic bottles. It did so well that MK then became the first to build its own in-borough recycling plant.

Our current system includes black rubbish sacks for regular waste that can’t be recycled, clear sacks for recycling, a blue box for glass and a green bin for food and garden waste. Variations are in place for flats, communal and special kerbside properties.

Around 20% of the recycling we receive is contaminated so we want to make sure one of our priorities is to improve the quality of materials we collect.

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

  • A grey wheeled bin collected weekly for residual waste
  • A wheeled bin with a red lid for paper and card
  • A wheeled bin with a blue lid for plastic, metals and glass
  • A small yellow container to recycle batteries
  • No change to the food and garden waste wheeled bin
  • No change to properties which currently receive a communal collection
New wheeled bins

Reasons why areas were chosen

These homes were chosen to cover a wide range of properties, with gardens and outside spaces of various sizes including more rural areas too. All properties in the borough were surveyed by Keep Britain Tidy to check if suitability for wheelie bins.

Homes in the pilot area that cannot accommodate wheelie bins will be offered a tailored collection. Here are the streets covered.

Why wheeled bins?

Monitoring will be in place to see if using wheeled bins leads to cleaner streets. Current arrangements mean that sacks left on the street can burst, or be ripped open by animals. The use of wheeled bins in the pilot may also lead to increased recycling and less fly tipping.

Business waste misuse will be more straight forward to monitor within the pilot area. Reports have been received that commercial waste is being wrongly put out for collection alongside domestic waste.

Cleaner, greener and safer.

How will it work?

Homes taking part in the pilot will be contacted by letter before the pilot starts. A detailed leaflet will be provided with the bins when they are delivered. For background information please read the committee papers.

Information on bins and how to use them

A series of public information sessions were initially planned, but due to COVID-19 this is now not possible. Instead, we wil have a short video coming soon explaining how to use your new bins or boxes.

An information leaflet will also be available soon outlining the pilot scheme and the borough wide consultation.

Need more assistance?

Further information can be found in our Frequently Answered Questions, if you still have queries our email address is: recycling-pilot@milton-keynes.gov.uk or call us on 01908 253334

Last Updated: 23 September 2020