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Record recycling means steel packaging hits European target three years early

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Recycling of steel packaging in Europe has hit an all-time high of 80.5%.

This record rate, which represents data from 2017, confirms steel as Europe’s most recycled primary packaging material. It also indicates the industry has met and even exceeded one of its key sustainability goals – a 80% recycling rate in Europe by 2020 – three years ahead of schedule.

Alexis Van Maercke, secretary general of Apeal, said, “With 100% of the separately collected steel packaging being recycled into new steel products, these figures further reinforce the fact that steel is the best placed of all packaging materials to reach the higher recycling targets proposed by the revision of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive in the context of the Circular Economy package. This is another major achievement for the industry, and sends a loud and clear message to brands, manufacturers and retailers that it is high time more emphasis was placed on this tried, tested and sustainable packaging solution.”

As well as being the most recycled primary packaging material in Europe, steel is a permanent material that can be infinitely recycled without any loss of quality. Worldsteel estimates that 75% of steel products ever made are still in use today.

Recycling steel packaging reduces emissions and helps to save natural resources such as iron ore, coal and limestone. In addition, its portion size versatility, long shelf-life and ambient storage qualities reduce food waste and energy consumption.