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Steel packaging breaks recycling rate record for 10th year running

Recycling of steel packaging in Europe has hit another all time high of 85.5%, according to figures issued by APEAL, the Association of European Producers of Steel for Packaging. It is an increase of 1.5% and is the 10th consecutive year in which the overall recycling rate has risen.


Alexis Van Maercke, secretary general of APEAL, said: ‘The excellent recycling rate which steel packaging continues to improve upon each year, is testament to steel’s strong environmental credentials and the work of stakeholders throughout the value chain to improve recycling processes, infrastructure, and consumer communications.’


It is also significant that more countries than ever before have recycled over 90% of steel packaging. It is a clear signal that closing the loop for steel packaging is within reach which is another exciting step towards a truly circular economy.


He continued, ‘More needs to be done, however. APEAL’s vision – zero steel packaging to landfill by 2025 – remains unchanged and there are still a number of countries which have some way to go to reach the average recycling rate for steel packaging in Europe. Indeed, preventing recyclable packaging from being sent to landfill is one of six key policy recommendations in APEAL’s 2022 recycling report, published earlier this year.’



This follows news of the adoption of the new EU recycling rate calculation methodology which guarantees that only the accepted tonnages at the entrance of the recycling operations are used to calculate the recycled tonnages, instead of collected or sorted tonnages.


The methodology and data sources used by APEAL to calculate the current recycling rate have been independently reviewed, audited and certified by energy and waste specialist consultancy, Eunomia.


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. In addition, 100% of recycled steel is used for new steel products – a bridge, wind turbine or even a new item of packaging – in the more than 500 recycling plants across Europe.