The German tinplate manufacturer thyssenkrupp Rasselstein has launched what it says is the world’s first food can made of CO2-reduced bluemint Steel together with the Swiss companies Hoffmann Neopac and Ricola, the latter of which will sell its herbal drops in the cans.

The joint project involves thyssenkrupp Rasselstein suppling the CO2-reduced packaging steel, Hoffmann Neopac producing and printing the cans using solar power, and Ricola using energy from renewable sources for the production and filling of their herbal drops.

In thyssenkrupp Rasselstein’s steel production process, so-called HBI was used, which means already reduced sponge iron. This reportedly decreases the use of coal for the reduction process in the blast furnace, resulting in lower CO2 emissions.

Dr Peter Biele, CEO of thyssenkrupp Rasselstein, explains: “By using our new bluemint Steel, CO2 emissions from can production can be significantly reduced, making our product even more sustainable.

“This project is an important step towards achieving our climate targets.”

The company has pledged to be completely carbon neutral by 2045.

Mark Aegler, CEO of Hoffmann Neopac, adds: “Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. We produce our cans in Switzerland with 100% electricity from renewable sources while working on our own decarbonization programme.”

According to Dr Martin Messerli, chief operating officer of Ricola: “For us, it was important to make the packaging of our herbal drops more sustainable. That is why we are the first company in our market to use CO2-reduced food cans.

“By switching to a CO2-reduced can for our herbal drops specialties, Ricola is also responding to increased demand from consumers, who are paying more attention to the carbon footprint of their purchases.”

The first herbal drops in the CO2-reduced can are expected to leave Ricola’s factory in Laufen at the beginning of March and will be available from stores in April or May 2022.

In 2020, steel recycling rates hit an all-time high of 82.5%, according to APEAL, the Association of European Producers of Steel for Packaging, which also identified it as a “permanent material” capable of being recycled again and again without losing its properties in a recent report. Alexis Van Maercke, secretary general of APEAL, believes that steel cans are an ideal packaging type for food due to their adaptability, their contribution to reducing food waste, barrier properties, and recyclability.