APEAL outlines vision to prevent steel packaging to landfill

APEAL, the Association of European Producers of Steel for Packaging, has announced its vision for zero steel packaging being sent to landfill by 2025.

The organisation outlined its ambition as part of Steel for Packaging Week, a virtual event designed to highlight steel as the ‘model material’ for a circular economy.

APEAL’s 2025 Vision will be supported by action in four key areas, identified as being critical in the drive to prevent steel packaging being diverted from recycling and wasted.

Alexis Van Maercke, secretary general of APEAL, explained, “The four key areas of action will include a focus on optimising separate waste collection, establishing a scrap quality standard, the collection and sorting of steel closures, and designing for recyclability.

“As APEAL’s recycling report published in 2018 illustrates, separate collection is the best way of guaranteeing high-quality input into recycling operations. It was therefore encouraging to see this highlighted in the Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) 2.0 report adopted by the European Parliament last 9th February.

“Establishing a scrap quality standard is equally important. Crucially, to maintain quality in the steel for packaging scrap value chain, quality control must start when the material is at the sorting facility. This can only be achieved by establishing a quality standard for packaging steel scrap.”

An average of 82,5% of all steel packaging is currently recycled across Europe. However, APEAL said the collection and sorting of steel closures in Europe is estimated to be ‘below average’, with these items regularly placed in the wrong waste bin.

Mr Van Maercke added, “Improving the recycling rate of steel closures will make a significant contribution in the drive towards zero steel packaging to landfill. But there is currently a lack of clear sorting instructions and low awareness among citizens. At the same time ineffective sorting techniques in a number of facilities result in collected steel closures being lost and not recycled.”

A new APEAL report, ‘Why Steel recycles forever – How to collect, sort & recycle steel for packaging’, is set to be published in December. At the same time, the organisation will reveal a new recycling rate objective in line with the new EU calculation methodology.