53 Drums, tanks and cylinders


There is a well-established drum reconditioning industry which ensures that steel drums can be re-used - rather than recycled as scrap metal - with great savings of energy.  These are virtually indistinguishable from new drums.  Often ‘milk rounds’ operate, delivering ‘new’ drums and collecting used ones at the same time.  Note that metal drums containing residues of hazardous materials must be disposed of, or transferred using the Special Waste Consignment Note system (see section on Special Wastes) and can be recovered at specialist drum incinerators.

Unwanted gas cylinders
Nominally empty liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders contain explosive residues of propane or butane.  They must be stored upright and separate from other materials. Health & Safety Executive Guidance Note CS4 (3.25 from HSE) provides a guide to safe practice for compliance with various statutory provisions.  These are enforced by local authority environmental health departments (or for factories, the HSE).  The guidance gives requirements on ventilation, positioning, prohibition of smoking, access restriction, separation from specified substances and design of storage areas.

Unwanted cylinders remain the legal property of the company named on the cylinder, may not be disposed of as scrap, and must be returned to the nearest authorised dealer and if the original issue document can be produced, a partial refund of any deposit originally paid may be due.  Yellow Pages may help, but the situation is complicated by over 140 brand names and cylinders of foreign origin.  The LP Gas Association Cylinder Retrieval Scheme was set up to deal with these problems; and can arrange collection by a local representative when at least 20 Liquid Petroleum Gas cylinders have accumulated at an individual site.

Beer kegs and pressure cylinders
Beer kegs and pressure cylinders must also be returned to their owners; brewery companies are vigilant in prosecuting offenders through the Joint Brewer Reward Scheme but should also be able to offer assistance.  Carbon dioxide cylinders can fall over causing a serious hazard - keep them lying flat or chained to a wall.

Reconditioned drums and re-used cylinders will not attract any packaging regulations obligations.

Ensure that all containers are properly emptied by providing suitable equipment. Some companies employ drum heaters to help drain high viscosity materials.

Also see
Legal aspects of waste (Packaging Waste Regulations) (500)

Alphabetical list of organisations

Blagden Packaging Ltd

Tel 0208 594 5631
Gascoigne Wharf, Alfreds Way, BARKING, Essex IG11

Drum merchant.

Drum Distribution Services Ltd

Tel 0207 474 1100
Unit 3, Charles Street, North, Woolwich, LONDON E16

Drum merchant.

Drum Laundry Services Ltd

Tel 01252 547888 Fax 01252 510641
Lysons Avenue, Ash Vale, ALDERSHOT, Hants GU12 5HQ

Drum reconditioning.

Drums & Tanks Ltd

Tel 01628 676812 Fax 01628 777055
21 Abingdon Walk, MAIDENHEAD, Berks SL6 2FR

Reconditioning and sale of used steel and plastic drums. Selective purchase of quantities in good condition.

Drums and Packaging

Tel 0208 642 9323 / 0208 642 6506
92 Burdon Lane, Cheam, SUTTON, Surrey SM2 7DA

Drum merchant.

Drums and Tanks

Tel 01628 676812 Mobile 0378 020534 Fax 01628 777055
P O Box 495, MAIDENHEAD, Berks SL6 2FR

Secondhand drum dealers. Collect plastic and steel drums nationwide for reconditioning or recycling. Also recondition all sizes of oil tanks.

Federation of Drum Reconditioners
   Defunct - see  www.serred.org

Gainsford Drums
Tel 0208 520 4576 / 0208 520 3847  Fax 0208 521 0806
51 Gainsford Road, Walthamstow, LONDON E17 6QB
Contact  Gary Linard, Managing Director

Supplies, reconditions and recycles drums, tanks and industrial packaging .   (Updated June 2004)


Freephone 0800 289498
c/o Guinness Brewing GB, RUNCORN WA7 3BE

Confidential line for information on stolen aluminium and stainless steel beer kegs and pressurised carbon dioxide cylinders. These remain the property of owner breweries, and may not be sold or disposed of other than to authorised agents. Substantial reward of up to 10,000 offered for information leading to successful prosecution.

LP Gas Association

Tel 01737 224700 Fax 01737 241116
Alma House, Alma Road, REIGATE, Surrey RH2 0AZ

Trade association of companies supplying LP gas and associated equipment operating a free retrieval scheme for cylinders discarded at civic amenity sites, scrap metal depots etc. Collection, which will usually be undertaken within ten working days, can be arranged by contacting one of the following authorised companies, as applicable:

For Calor cylinders only, in accumulated quantities of 3 or more, Tel 01926 318616

For BOC cylinders only, in accumulated quantities of 3 or more, Freephone 0800 111333

For all other brands, including foreign or unidentifiable cylinders, in accumulated mixed quantities of 20 or more, as follows:

Beds & Herts - FloGas Ltd Tel 01530 230352, Fax 01530 230253
Berkshire - HandyGas Ltd Tel 01793 771888, Fax 01793 772253
Bucks & Oxon - SuperGas Ltd Tel 01993 703391, Fax 01993 779384
Essex & London - Shell Gas Ltd) Tel 0208 884 3282, Fax 0208 345 6342

Raines Drums

Tel 0207 511 2785
Unit D, Crescent Wharf, North, Woolwich, LONDON E16

Drum merchant.

Silvertown Pallets Ltd

Tel 0207 473 1205 Fax 01268 418668
Unit 4, Charles Street, North Woolwich, LONDON E16 2BY

Sale, purchase and reconditioning of all types of pallet, steel and plastic drums.

Steel Drums and Containers Ltd
Tel 0208 594 4373
Fresh Wharf Estate, Highbridge Road, BARKING, Essex IG11 7BJ

Drum reconditioning.

Whirlowdale Trading Co Ltd

Tel 01708 866962
The Sawmills, New Road, Wennington, RAINHAM, Essex RM13 9

Sale, purchase and reconditioning of pallets, packing cases, drums and stillages.