The Association of European Producers of Steel for Packaging (APEAL) has released its 2025 vision for recycling. Called “Zero steel packaging to landfill,” the report launched during Steel for Packaging Week, a virtual event designed to showcase steel as the model material for a 21st century circular economy.
The 2025 Vision will be supported by four key actions, identified by APEAL to prevent the diversion of steel packaging from recycling.
“The four key areas of action will include a focus on optimizing separate waste collection, establishing a scrap quality standard, the collection and sorting of steel closures and designing for recyclability,” said Alexis Van Maercke, Secretary General of APEAL.
“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.”
Currently, an average of 82.5% of all steel packaging is currently recycled across Europe, however, the collection and sorting of steel closures in Europe is estimated to be below-average, and are regularly put in the wrong waste bin by citizens.
“Improving the recycling rate of steel closures will make a significant contribution in the drive towards zero steel packaging to landfill,” Van Maercke continued. “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.”
APEAL also believes designing for recyclability will underpin the successful implementation of all these measures, helping to ensure that every product placed on the market, can be recycled as efficiently as possible.
“Ultimately, steel packaging is a valuable resource which cannot be wasted if we are to achieve the objectives of the European Green Deal,” Van Maercke said. “APEAL will continue to work with its colleagues, the European Commission, European Parliament, Member States and all stakeholders to realize a shared ambition of a truly circular economy.”
APEAL will launch the “Why Steel recycles forever – How to collect, sort & recycle steel for packaging” report in December 2021 to help stakeholders throughout the value chain work collaboratively to achieve the 2025 Vision.