Steel packaging reaches ‘record’ 84% recycling rate

Alexis Van Maercke

APEAL, the Association of European Producers of Steel for Packaging, has released new figures revealing that recycling of steel packaging in Europe has hit a record high of 84%.

This represents an increase of 1.5% and is the ninth consecutive year in which the overall recycling rate has risen.

Alexis Van Maercke, secretary general of APEAL, said, “Once again, this strong recycling performance highlights steel as one of the most sustainable packaging solutions available. As APEAL continues to work closely with the European Commission, European Parliament and member states to deliver the Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) 2.0, this latest record recycling rate also sends a clear message to all stakeholders in the value chain, that steel for packaging is tried, tested and perfectly suited to a 21st century circular economy.

“Steel is circular by nature. Magnetic properties make steel easy to collect from any waste stream and, as a permanent material, it can be recycled over and over again without any loss of material quality. 100% of recycled steel is used for new steel products – a bridge, wind turbine or even a new item of packaging. Increased separate collection is a key driver for increased recycling, with notable increases in countries such as Italy and Poland attributed to increased separate collection and greater public awareness of the benefits of steel recycling.”

APEAL recently announced its 2025 vision for recycling – Zero steel packaging to landfill. The organisation has identified four key areas for action. These include a continued focus on optimising separate waste collection, establishing a scrap quality standard, the collection and sorting of steel closures, and designing for recyclability.