Recycling of steel packaging in Europe has hit a new all-time high of 84 per cent, according to figures issued by APEAL, the Association of European Producers of Steel for Packaging. It is an increase of 1.5 per cent and is the ninth consecutive year in which the overall recycling rate has risen.
Alexis Van Maercke, secretary general of APEAL, said: “Once again, this strong recycling performance highlights steel as one of the most sustainable packaging solutions available. As APEAL continues to work closely with the European Commission, European Parliament and member states to deliver the Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) 2.0, this latest record recycling rate also sends a clear message to all stakeholders in the value chain, that steel for packaging is tried, tested and perfectly suited to a 21st century circular economy.
Steel is circular by nature. Magnetic properties make steel easy to collect from any waste stream and, as a permanent material, it can be recycled over and over again without any loss of material quality. 100 per cent of recycled steel is used for new steel products – a bridge, wind turbine or even a new item of packaging. Increased separate collection is a key driver for increased recycling, with notable increases in countries such as Italy and Poland attributed to increased separate collection and greater public awareness of the benefits of steel recycling.
APEAL believes that more can be done, however, and recently announced its 2025 vision for recycling – Zero steel packaging to landfill. The 2025 Vision will be supported by action in four key areas, identified by the Association as critical in the drive to prevent steel packaging being diverted from recycling and wasted. These include a continued focus on optimising separate waste collection, establishing a scrap quality standard, the collection and sorting of steel closures, and designing for recyclability.
A new recycling rate objective, in line with the new EU calculation methodology is set to be revealed later this year. Applicable for data from 2020, this new methodology moves the calculation point for all member states and all packaging materials, to the entrance of the recycling operation. This means that no impurities can be included and only materials that are really recycled can be included in the measurement process. APEAL aims to be the first material to release our figures with the new methodology.”
The methodology and data sources used by APEAL to calculate the current recycling rate have been independently reviewed, audited and certified by energy and waste specialist consultancy, Eunomia.