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#05.10.2020 Steel packaging and the European Green Deal

By Alexis Van Maercke

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, described the European Green Deal as ‘Europe’s man on the moon moment’, and the scale of the challenge would certainly put its success in the history books: a climate-neutral EU by 2050.

Transforming the 27-country bloc from a high- to a low-carbon economy is ambitious to say the least. To do so without reducing prosperity and improving quality of life is truly ground-breaking.

Brands, manufacturers and consumers might be forgiven for thinking their individual actions will have little impact in realising this ambition. But choosing steel packaging is one small step that could mean a giant leap for the European Green Deal.

One of the main building blocks of the Deal is the Circular Economy Action Plan, which aims to make our economy fit for a green future; strengthening our competitiveness while protecting the environment.

The idea of a circular economy is to keep resources in use for as long as possible, without relying on and depleting raw materials. Multiple recycling is key to this process, as will be the increased use of permanent materials whose inherent properties do not change, regardless of the number of times they go through a recycling process.

Once produced, if these materials are properly collected and processed at the end of their useful life, they will become the valuable resource for endless production loops. Such materials are and will remain at the heart of a successful circular economy.

Since its invention, steel has been recycled. The process is simple and the output – new steel – has value. In many countries, with robust collection and recycling systems, almost all steel packaging is recycled. Which means less waste and less pollution.

This is why steel has a key role to play in helping Europe achieve the ultimate aims of the Green Deal.

With 82.5% of steel packaging recycled across the EU, steel recycling is real and measurable. In other words, steel recycling works.