All manufacturers of plastic kegs claim that their kegs are ‘recyclable’, often 100% recyclable. But what does that really mean? What’s the difference between recyclable kegs and kegs with a circular design?
The claim ‘recyclable’ simply means that the materials from the keg can be used again. However, that re-use can be for almost anything, from making used plastics into new kegs to processing them into the plastic posts we see on roadsides everywhere, or burning them. Thus ‘recycling’ is a very broad term that includes less-desirable forms of re-use such as low-quality (the roadside posts) and even incineration.
Manufacturers who claim that their kegs have a circular design are saying something more specific. They are saying that new kegs can be made from the materials in the used ones or that the material is suitable for similar applications. Incineration and low-quality applications are not options. These manufacturers are paving the way to a circular economy.
The chances that a keg without a circular design will actually get re-used are slim. The materials they are made of have little economic value so they are not attractive for the plastic recycling industry. Used kegs with a circular design have much greater economic value.
KeyKeg is currently the only keg with a circular design. By far most of it (81%) consists of pure PET and PP, widely used plastics with high economic value, which can be used again and again for the same purpose. Similar high-value applications have been found for much of the remaining 19% of the material.
The plastic recycling industry is relatively new and cannot handle the influx of plastics adequately yet. There are too many different kinds of plastic (over 250), and they’re often in combinations that are impossible to process, and in too-large quantities. It is therefore important for manufacturers to take responsibility and only make packaging from plastics that can be re-used. Lightweight Containers is doing exactly this, and it’s going even further by collecting and processing KeyKegs itself.