Materials

Europe hits record 74.7 per cent metal packaging recycling rate

Europe hits record 74.7 per cent metal packaging recycling rate
The recycling rate of rigid metal packaging across Europe reached a new record of 74.7 per cent in 2013, according to Metal Packaging Europe (MPE).

A review of metal packaging statistics from 2013 found that over three million tonnes of steel packaging and aluminium beverage cans were recycled. The extra recycled tonnage in 2013 equals an increase of 1.1 per cent from 2012. In 2013, aluminium cans were recycled at a rate of 71.3 per cent and steel packaging was recycled at a rate of 75.2 per cent.

The original data provided by the Packaging Group of European Aluminium and the Association of European Producers of Steel for Packaging (APEAL) has been reviewed by the independent consultancy Eunomia. MPE says that this process makes metal the only packaging industry that ensures a third-party verification of its recycling figures.

MPE says the metal packaging sector is ‘well on track’ to reach the industry’s voluntary objective of recycling 80 per cent of metal packaging in Europe by 2020.

As permanent materials, aluminium and steel can be recycled over and over again without loss of quality. MPE says that closing the material loop is essential in the development of the circular economy, and metals can contribute to this through multiple recycling. MPE’s ‘Metal Forever’ campaign encourages and highlights the importance of this closed-loop economy, using the slogan ‘metal recycles forever’.

‘Resource-efficient recycling society’

Peter Lockley, Chairman of MPE, said: “The ‘Metal Forever’ story is a perfect example of the circular economy at work.

“In order to move towards a true resource-efficient recycling society, it is key that we make a clear distinction between recycling which leads to the gradual degradation of the material and recycling which keeps the material in the loop without losing its intrinsic material characteristics.”

More information can be found on MPE’s website.