Brussels — Aluminium and steel fulfil the criteria for „permanent materials“ as defined in a study by the Swiss consultancy Carbotech AG. Carbotech, in collaboration with the University of Applied Science Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW), conducted a scientific study to look closely at the characteristics of materials to provide a clear, unambiguous and simple basis for material classification. The study confirms that the current approach of classifying materials as renewable or non-renewable is insufficient for the development of good practices in sustainable resource management.
In the study, permanent materials are defined as those whose inherent properties do not change during use and regardless of repeated recycling into new products. Their recycling does not necessarily require the addition of primary material or additives to enable the basic material function / properties.
The research explains the differences between materials that lose their inherent properties when recycled (degradation) and materials that do not. Those materials that keep their properties can be infinitely recycled, which brings significant savings in material resources.
„Aluminium and steel can be considered permanent materials as their inherent properties do not change during use and recycling phase. We can say that aluminium and steel in rigid packaging are true enablers of the circular economy,“ says Dr. Fredy Dinkel, project leader at Carbotech. „The permanent materials concept perfectly matches society’s vision for a circular economy. Stimulating the recycling of permanent materials will make our economy more sustainable and less dependent on primary metal imports from third countries“, says Peter Lockley, chairman of MPE.
Source: Metal Packaging Europe (MPE)