What happens to my recycling?

Watch the video to see what happens to the recycling in your clear sack.

Aerial photo of the MRF
MK Materials Recycling Facility

Recycling from MK residents' clear recycling sacks is taken by our collection vehicles to the Materials Recycling Facility, in Old Wolverton.

Built in 1993, it was the UK's first purpose-built recycling facility and is owned by MK Council. Here the staff and machinery sort and separate the paper, cans and plastics, which are then baled ready for transportation to be made into new recycled products (PDF, 331KB).  Watch our video 

Photo of a one-pass lorry at the recycling facility.
A one-pass lorry at the recycling facility
  • Paper is recycled into more newspaper, toilet rolls, tissues and 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 more cans. 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, wheeled bins, guttering and even the fluff in duvets. 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 furnaces where they are melted down. The molten glass can then be re-moulded into new bottles and jars. When different colour glass is melted together it all turns green as this is the dominant colour.
  • All batteries collected in yellow bags 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 to create a low grade soil conditioner for agriculture.

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Last Updated: 1 December 2021