APEAL announces its 2025 vision for European steel recycling

The Association of European Producers of Steel for Packaging (APEAL) has shared its 2025 vision for recycling, “Zero steel packaging to landfill”.

It comes as part of Steel for Packaging Week, an online event devised to raise awareness of steel as a key material in the shift towards a circular economy.

Tata steel packagingThe 2025 Vision is to be made up of action in four key areas that will stop steel packaging being diverted from recycling and wasted.

Alexis Van Maercke, Secretary General of APEAL, said: “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.”

APEAL reported that 82.5 per cent of all steel packaging is currently recycled throughout Europe but the collection and sorting of the steel closures is suspected to be below average, with steel closures regularly put in the wrong waste bin (and often in the residual waste bin) by the public.

Van Maercke continued: “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.”

“Ultimately, steel packaging is a valuable resource which cannot be wasted if we are to achieve the objectives of the European Green Deal.

“APEAL will continue to work with its colleagues, the European Commission, European Parliament, Member States and all stakeholders to realise a shared ambition of a truly circular economy.”

APEAL is set to lay out the 2025 Vision in detail to help stakeholders throughout the value chain work towards the goal, in a report entitled ‘Why Steel recycles forever – How to collect, sort & recycle steel for packaging’ due to be released in December.

The organisation also will be announcing a new recycling rate objective in response to the new EU calculation methodology – a change that moves the calculation point for all member states and all packaging materials, to the entrance of the recycling operation. 

This will mean that no impurities can be included and only materials that are actually recycled can be part of the measurement process.

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