Local brothers keeping plastic beverage kegs out of landfill

Date published: 29 April 2019

Sam Evans and Steven Evans, two brothers from Rochdale, are two of the founders of the WDS Group who are keeping plastic beverage kegs out of landfill.

WDS Group and KeyKeg are to kick-start a closed-loop recycling programme for KeyKegs for the North of England.

Most plastic beverage kegs in the UK are not recycled and often end up in landfill. To overcome this problem, WDS Group have teamed up with OneCircle to create a circular programme which recycles the basic materials from KeyKegs turning them into new, useable KeyKegs.

The programme was launched as a pilot scheme in London and now WDS Group have taken up the baton for the North. WDS Group will collect the used KeyKegs from bars and deliver them to plastic recycling specialist OneCircle, where the KeyKegs are then processed and turned back into KeyKegs.

Packaging producer Lightweight Containers, the company behind KeyKeg, initiated OneCircle. Together with its customers, beverage distributors and bars, OneCircle is building a community that is eagerly collecting KeyKegs and preparing them for processing. OneCircle is responsible for the recycling and transportation of KeyKegs.

WDS Group, a family run wholesale business and distributor based in Bury, sees new opportunities with the collection of KeyKegs.

Sam Evans, Sales Director: "We estimate that more than 500,000 KeyKegs end up in Manchester alone every year and it is great that we can now use them as raw materials again. It meets a huge need.

“Many bars and breweries have heard that we are going to process KeyKegs and have spontaneously saved them up. It is clear to them that a lot of plastic ends up in landfill and they want to prevent that from happening.

“The time has come to work together with packaging producers on closed loops, and OneCircle is leading the way."

Annemieke Hartman from OneCircle: "We are very pleased to welcome WDS group to the OneCircle community.

“WDS group is among the leaders in sustainability and together with OneCircle they are expanding this lead.

“By reusing the raw materials from KeyKegs we lower the CO2 footprint of their beer to the lowest in the industry.

“We're aiming to support the reuse of the raw materials in KeyKegs and UniKegs worldwide. Ideally this would be to make the next KeyKegs, but we want to minimise our ecological footprint, so it may be more sustainable in some situations to make them into other high-quality recycled products.

“We can recycle our kegs now because years ago we designed the KeyKeg & UniKeg with circularity in mind. We have developed various collection models and recycling methods and work together with waste companies, brewers and beverage distributors such as WDS Group.

“We have developed tools that allow our supply chain to separate the valuable materials and are actively looking for people and companies to join our fast-growing collection community.”

In England, OneCircle is building a nationwide collection network. Members of the network collect and crush the KeyKegs into bales. OneCircle collects the bales and transports around 10,000 KeyKegs per truckload to the processing plant.

A KeyKeg consists of 81% PP and PET, two types of plastics that can be reused as a circular raw material. The rest of the materials can be used in other high-quality applications. Each KeyKeg already consists of 30% recycled material. This share will increase further to 35% this year. For 2020 another 5% extra recycled content is planned.

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