Steel packaging manufacturers in Europe say the required EU recycling rate has been met four years ahead of schedule.
The Association of European Producers of Steel for Packaging (Apeal) makes the claim after analysing new independently verified figures following the introduction of a harmonised method for calculating packaging recycling rates within the EU.
Apeal says 78.5% of steel packaging was recycled in 2021, meaning the EU steel recycling rate target of 70% by 2025 has already been reached. It points out the figures correspond to the amount of packaging that is recycled and rather than that collected.
The new methodology focuses on the material at the entrance of recycling operations, which Apeal says ‘signifies a major shift towards accuracy and transparency in the European packaging industry’.
Previously, it argues, EU member states utilised varying methods to determine their recycling rates for different materials, leading to inflated rates and masking the recycling challenges associated with multi-material packaging formats.
Steve Claus, secretary general of Apeal, says the figures show steel is the most widely recycled sales packaging material in Europe.
‘It is testament to its unique properties and the collaborative efforts of stakeholders across the value chain to maintain a 100% closed material loop.
‘Steel’s magnetic properties make it easily recoverable from any waste stream, and its permanent quality ensures it can be recycled repeatedly without any loss in material quality.’