Today, in any of the top five steel recycling countries in Europe, over nine out of 10 items of steel packaging put on the market will be effectively recycled and made available for the manufacture of new steel products.

The role of steel in the transition towards a more circular economy in Europe is the subject of the ‘Steel for Packaging, a Pioneer of Circular Economy’ conference, in Brussels, 11 April, organised by APEAL (the Association of European Producers of Steel for Packaging) in conjunction with The Parliament Magazine.

The event will focus on the role of steel packaging recycling in the transition towards a more circular economy in Europe and examine how policymakers and stakeholders can work together to fully close the loop on steel packaging recycling in European countries.

Bringing together a wide range of stakeholders, speakers will include MEP’s Nils Torvalds, Tibor Szanyi as well as Gwenole Cozigou and Julius Langendorff, from the European Commission's DG GROW and DG Environment respectively, and Eve Tamme from the Permanent representation of Estonia.

Alexis Van Maercke, secretary general of APEAL, said: “APEAL has long shared the view that EU member states should expand their efforts to reach higher recycling targets for packaging materials. Waste is a resource whose recovery and reinjection into the EU economy contributes to 1 EU 28 counties + Norway & Switzerland resource efficiency, emissions reduction and the circular economy.”

With an average of 77.5% recycled across Europe in 20151, steel for packaging is already the most recycled packaging material in Europe, bringing -great savings in emissions, resource and energy use.

Steel’s unique inherent qualities give a natural advantage as magnetic properties make it easy and economical to recycle steel as there is no need for a specific sorting process. As a permanent material, steel can also be recycled forever without loss of quality.

Steel scrap is also an inherent part of the production process for new steel so every single steel plant in Europe is also a recycling plant, saving resources, energy and emissions by recycling steel in a simple and efficient process.

But APEAL believes more can be done. APEAL is committed to helping EU members states, to achieving the higher recycling targets set out in the EU’s Circular Economy Package (CEP). Indeed, the conference will also see the launch of APEAL’s new report: “Good Practices on Separate collection, Sorting and Recycling of Steel for Packaging”

This report, compiled using examples of good practice from countries across the EU, showcases the varied projects, systems and processes by which steel packaging is recycled.

“This new report provides detailed information relevant to organisations and individuals wishing to learn more about a real and successful material recycling story and will help stakeholders to play a meaningful role in the drive to increase recycling and achieve a more circular economy” said Mr Van Maercke.

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