Today, in any of the top five steel recycling countries in Europe, over nine out of 10 items of steel packaging put on the market will be effectively recycled and made available for the manufacture of new steel products.

It’s in the light of this fact that APEAL, (the Association of European Producers of Steel for Packaging) has announced the launch of a new report: Good Practices on Separate collection, Sorting and Recycling of Steel for Packaging.

APEAL is committed to helping all EU members states achieve the higher recycling targets set out in the EU’s Circular Economy Package (CEP).

This report, compiled using examples of good practice from countries across the EU showcases the varied projects, systems and processes by which steel packaging is recycled.

With an average of 77.5% recycled across Europe in 20151, steel for packaging is already the most recycled packaging material in Europe, bringing great savings in emissions, resource and energy use.

Steel’s unique inherent qualities give a natural advantage. Magnetic properties make it easy and economical to recycle steel as there is no need for a specific sorting process. As a permanent material, steel can also be recycled forever without loss of quality (1 EU 28 counties + Norway & Switzerland).

Steel scrap is also an inherent part of the production process for new steel so every single steel plant in Europe is also a recycling plant, saving resources, energy and emissions by recycling steel in a simple and efficient process. But APEAL believes more can be done.

Alexis Van Maercke, secretary general of APEAL, said: “Our new report provides detailed information relevant to organisations and individuals wishing to learn more about a real and successful material recycling story. It should help stakeholders to play a meaningful role in the drive to increase recycling and achieve a more circular economy.”

This launch of the report is timely as the CEP’s final compromise is expected to be formally adopted by the European Parliament (EP) later this year. Indeed, the Good Practice Recycling Report was formally released at the Steel for Packaging, a Pioneer of Circular Economy conference, held in Brussels, 11 April, which was organised by APEAL in conjunction with The Parliament Magazine.

The conference brought together a wide range of stakeholders and speakers including MEP’s Nils Torvalds and Tibor Szanyi, as well as Gwenole Cozigou and Julius Langendorff, from the European Commission’s DG GROW and DG Environment respectively.

Mr Van Maercke added: “The unique properties of steel mean that it is ideally positioned as the model packaging material for a circular economy. Today, we are closer than ever before to achieving a truly circular economy which reduces waste, saves resources and closes the material loop.”

“This report, which highlights good practices on separate collection, sorting and recycling of steel for packaging, brings us one step closer to achieving that reality.”

To obtain a copy of the report, go to APEAL Good practices in separate collection, sorting and recycling of Steel for Packaging