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#29.10.2015 Europe-wide statistics show steel packaging success and opportunity

On the back of APEAL’s successful event in Warszawa, Poland, “Steel Packaging – Green Solutions for Central Europe 2015”, I wanted to share some interesting statistics on recycling rates in the EU.

As mentioned by almost all our key speakers in Warszawa, steel’s market leading recyclability and its inherent nature as a permanent material lends itself perfectly to the circular economic principles which we hope will be the driving force for the future of European manufacturing.

There is no better illustration of the strength of the case we can make for that – and the success we’ve already had in making steel the perfect circular packaging material – than the graphic below.

Steel packaging recycling rates

Steel packaging recycling rates in EU (2013)

The figures, from 2013, show recycling rates above 75% in many major European companies including Portugal, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Norway, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary.

In Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, recycling rates are now above 90%, coming close to fully closing the loop and ensuring all steel packaging is recycled and reused.

Promisingly, other nations are closing in on the 75% mark while those with lower rates such as Poland are engaging in the process of improving their infrastructures to help bring their recycling levels up.

APEAL, for our part, are working hard to promote the economic and sustainability value of steel packaging to those nations.

It makes APEAL increasingly confident about meeting our target of an overall 80% rate of recycling by 2020 and, as I’ve said previously, potentially higher targets within the original Circular Economic Package would not daunt us either. We welcome the challenge.

Magnetic properties make steel easily separable during recycling processes and steel recycles forever without loss of quality. This unique blend of inherent properties means steel is in a better position than any packaging material to meet the world’s future requirements, given the globe’s diminishing natural resources.

The new Circular Economy Package is now expected to be released on 2 December and we hope this will provide a catalyst for further progress.