Derby-born sustainability innovation completes successful pilot

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A pilot project to reduce the use of single use plastic at the recent Derby LIVE Beer Festival will help pave the way for Derby to transition into a zero-waste city, according to the company behind the technology.

RDS Circulayo, a new sustainable technology venture launched by Derby-based RDS Global, piloted its new reusable packaging system, Flow, at the event in early September.

Drinks were served to visitors in reusable cups which, instead of being thrown away, were collected, washed and used multiple times.

The pilot was a “phenomenal success”. During the five-day Beer Festival, more than 7,500 drinks were served using less than 4,000 reusable cups. This resulted in a return rate of 99%, a refill rate of 48%, and 152kg of single-use plastic being saved from landfill.

Flow has been designed by RDS Circulayo in collaboration with three other organisations: Glasdon, the UK’s leading supplier of waste and recycling bins; Event Cup Solutions, the UK’s leading supplier of reusable food and beverage packaging to the events industry; and a long-term partnership with the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme via The University of Derby.

Andy Flinn, RDS Global CEO, said: “The Derby LIVE Beer Festival pilot has proven that a zero-waste future for Derby is possible. RDS Circulayo will continue to develop its offering to ensure that future becomes a reality.

“Our Circulayo Flow brand, and the impact that it will have on society, is also a perfect example of why the KTP scheme from the University of Derby is such a vital component of innovation within the city.

“It has been a pleasure to work so closely with Dr Vishnu Paranthaman and Dr Shahid Awan on developing this product and I’m very excited about what we will do next.”

The success of this pilot comes at a crucial stage in the global war on climate change. RDS Circulayo has the bold mission to defeat waste, and the urgency of that mission was made clear by chief product officer, Kevin Hudson.

He continued: “We are in the critical decade, wherein the survival of human life as we know, and love it, requires dramatic change.

“However, contrary to popular belief, the change required is not behavioural change on the part of the consumer, but instead radical system design change. The habit of disposal is, within a better designed system, the most scalable route to sustainable consumption.”

“Circulayo Flow is designed to facilitate thischange by using technology to power a system where reusable packaging is just as easy and cheap to use as single-use disposables.

“Every item, such as a reusable cup, is uniquely identifiable via a QR code, which enables Flow to track the item throughout each repeat journey along its value chain – point-of-sale, disposal, collection, washing, and redistribution. We call this process, Full-Loop Traceability. In the near future, Flow will also integrate with material recovery facilities and street-level waste/recycling bins, creating a digitally connected infrastructure capable of tracking a wide range of reusable packaging.

The pilot also earned the praise of one of the Derby LIVE Beer Festival honorary guests, Mayor of Derby, councillor Robin Wood, who said: “We are drinking out of a glass that is not single-use plastic and this is something really good for Derby.”

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