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Meet the Materials Recovery Facility (#TheMRF)

The Materials Recovery Facility (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 (KGMB), to offer a variety of tours and programs.

Tour Information

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.

A photo of the material recovery facility

Anyone participating in a hard hat tour must wear 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.

For questions about programs and tours, contact Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful at or call 414-272-5462.


Free, hour-long adult tours are typically offered on the following schedule:

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

Reserve your spot online under "Adult Classes". Use promotion code MKEadult when registering.


School groups can 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. Students K - 4th grade can visit the MRF observation room as a part of their 90 minute program. Students in grade 5 and up may take a hard hat tour of the facility.

Reserve your class online under "School Presentations and Field Trips." Use promotion code MKESchool when registering.

Special Events

Doors Open Milwaukee

Building History

The City of Milwaukee, in partnership with Waukesha County, retrofit the MRF in the Menomonee Valley with new, state-of-the-art equipment. This is a single-stream (single-sort) facility, which means the facility is designed to accept cans, cartons, glass, paper, and plastic mixed together. A combination of humans and machinery sort the materials into several marketable 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 dual-stream facility, requiring residents to sort paper from their bottles and cans. In Fall 2011, the City began a single-sort recycling program, requiring recyclables to be transferred to a Waste Management facility in Germantown for processing while the City's MRF was retrofitted to accept the new single-stream materials. Our Mount Vernon MRF began processing materials again in March 2015 and serves both the City of Milwaukee and over 20 communities in Waukesha County.