Left to right: Vincent van Dorland, Kwaliflex senior international buyer; Jan Dirk Veenendaal, OneCircle board member – innovations; Bert Hanssen, OneCircle chief technology officer; Pieter Smits, Kwaliflex chief executive

Plastics keg producer OneCircle is building on its commitment to the circular economy after announcing a tie-up with fellow Dutch company Kwaliflex Food Recycling.

Under the terms of the deal, Kwaliflex – which converts residual waste streams from the food and beverage industry – will recycle used KeyKegs, OneCircle’s PET keg range.

Alongside its food and beverage processing, Kwaliflex has invested in the recycling of the associated food and beverage packaging by designing dedicated machinery and building up a network of material recyclers for further material processing. Today, almost 100 per cent of all of its incoming goods are captured for reuse.

OneCircle said its KeyKeg range provides premium protection for draught beverages, ensuring they reach consumers around the world “as fresh as the day they were produced”. After use, the empty kegs are collected and recycled.

Four years ago, the company launched the ‘OneCircle collection community’ to create and implement collection networks for its used kegs in an increasing number of countries, and to ensure they are recycled and the raw materials are used again. Kwaliflex is the latest partner to join the community.

Chief technology officer Bert Hanssen said that ahead of upcoming European regulations, OneCircle is committed to increasing the use of recycled materials in its kegs.

“That is why we have taken the initiative and created our own collection hubs to boost recycling of our products alongside existing waste streams,” he said.

“We want to grow the community as quickly as possible to enable the production of KeyKegs containing the maximum amount of recycled materials and make the circular economy a reality.

“Kwaliflex fits very well in our international collection community and our partners in plastics recycling, and because of Kwaliflex’s state-of-the-art expertise and willingness to further invest in packaging recycling, I expect them to play a growing role in the recycling of our used kegs.”

In addition to the recycling of food and beverage packaging, Kwaliflex processes all kinds of rejected food and beverages and turns them into green energy using a bio-fermenter. Currently, it creates enough power to fulfil the energy needs of more than 12,500 households.

Other residual products from the bio-fermenter are used in customisable soil enrichment products.

“Originating from the agricultural industry, we have focused more and more on food and beverage waste processing and became one of the biggest and most reliable partners for major brands,” said Kwaliflex chief executive Pieter Smits. “As a result, we also had to find a solution for the responsible recycling of packaging like cartons, glass and plastics bottles, and plastics and steel kegs.”

While acknowledging that the collection and recycling of multi-material plastics kegs is challenging, Smits said Kwaliflex is happy to be part of OneCircle’s materials loop to further develop the processing of the complex packaging.

“Today, already 86 per cent of the recovered KeyKeg plastics are reused into new KeyKegs and we look forward to increasing this percentage further and to rapidly increase the number of collected kegs together with OneCircle in a fruitful partnership,” he added.

To date, OneCircle said it has enabled the collection of its kegs in the Netherlands, UK, Spain, Switzerland, Ireland, France and Belgium. It claimed to be exploring effective networks in other countries around the globe through its OneCircle collection community.

Formerly known as Lightweight Containers, OneCircle also produces the UniKeg range of PET kegs.