Tour the Recycling Facility

The Materials Recovery Facility (or MRF) is where all of our recyclables are sorted and baled for shipment to other facilities that use them to create new products. The City of Milwaukee works with our educational partner, Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful, to offer a variety of tour and program options.

Tour Information

Anyone participating in a hard hat tour must be wearing tennis shoes, or a shoe of similar sole thickness. Hard hats, safety vests, and eye protection will be provided. The tour involves steps and is not wheelchair accessible.

MRF tours and programs begin in the KGMB education room located in the Milwaukee Environmental Education and Tour Center at 1313 W Mount Vernon Ave, which is a one-story brown brick building. The parking lot is on the South side of the building.

For questions about programs and tours, contact Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful directly at 414.272.5462.

Adults

Free, hour-long adult tours are typically offered

  • First Tuesday of the month at 12 PM
  • Third Thursday of the month at 4:30 PM

Reserve your space online, listed under Adult Classes. Use promotion code MKEadult when registering.

Children

School groups can also tour the MRF as a part of the Recycle For Good programs. Milwaukee public and private schools are eligible for a mini-grant to cover the cost of the program. Register online by selecting 'Private Presentations and Field Trips' and use the promotion code MKESchool. Students K - 4th grade can visit the MRF observation room as a part of their 90 minute program. Students in grade 5 and up can take a hard hat tour of the facility. Reserve your class online, listed under "Private Presentations and Field Trips". Use promotion code MKESchool when registering.

Building History

The City of Milwaukee, in partnership with Waukesha County, has retrofitted our MRF in the Menomonee Valley with new, state-of-the-art equipment. This is a single-stream or single-sort facility, which means the facility is designed to accept paper, bottles, and cans mixed together. Then a combination of humans and machinery sorts the materials into 11 categories to be baled and sold.

The retrofitted facility brought recycling to the Menomonee Valley once again! In the 1990's and early 2000's the city processed recyclables at the Mount Vernon location. This facility was a duel-stream facility, requiring residents to sort paper from their bottles and cans. Then in the fall of 2011, the City began our single-sort recycling program. This required the recyclables to be transferred to a Waste Management facility in Germantown for processing. The new MRF began processing materials in March, 2015 and serves both the City of Milwaukee and over 20 communities in Waukesha County.

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