Steel packaging gets circular economy boost

#04.01.2016 Steel packaging gets circular economy boost

It’s been a long wait but it’s finally here – last 2nd December (2015) the European Commission (EC) announced details on the new Circular Economy Package.

It is a breakthrough moment, not only for steel packaging but, more importantly, for Europe’s economic and environmental future.


The package will bring with it new, higher material recycling targets – 75% for steel in 2025 and 85% in 2030 – which will apply throughout Europe, forcing governments across the continent to increase their focus on the way products are manufactured, used and recycled. It will also increase awareness and understanding of the benefits of permanent materials like steel within those processes, particularly with the new specific targets for each type of metal.

Expect to see pressure brought to bear on companies producing packaging from materials that are not permanent and prove difficult to recycle. They will likely now be subject to increased scrutiny and national governments may even look to incentivise the use of permanent materials. This measure alone – just one of the announcements within the EC package – creates a real drive towards sustainability.

It’s also a success for APEAL. In the past few years we have worked hard to increase recognition for the inherent benefits of steel and the need for a greater emphasis on permanent materials within manufacturing to preserve the world’s natural resources. This is now paying dividends but we will not stop here.

While we are a little disappointed not to see an outright landfill ban we recognise that a progressive phasing out is a step forward and we will work nevertheless towards our own stated industry objective of zero steel packaging to landfill by 2020.

The campaign to champion positive environmental manufacturing solutions and the circular economy is just beginning. To ensure it is delivered and becomes the norm is a far greater challenge.