EU now recycles 50% steel packaging

On average half of all steel packaging on the market in 13 European countries was recycled in 2000, a total of 1,670,000 tonnes, a 15% increase on 1999 levels.

Three countries in particular contributed to the rise, with the UK now recycling 34% of its steel packaging, Spain 33%, and Italy increasing from 9.5% to 26%, although a number of other countries already recycle steel packaging at an even higher level. Luxembourg recycles an unrivalled 93%, says APEAL, with Germany and Austria approaching the 80% mark, and Belgium and the Netherlands achieving 77%. Portugal, Italy and Finland have all now exceeded the 15% minimum recycling rate stipulated in the European Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive.

Since 1991, one million tonnes of steel have been diverted from landfill and recycled, says APEAL, the Association of European Producers of Steel for Packaging, the organisation which represents over 90% of the European steel packaging production industry.

According to Philippe Wolper, Director General of APEAL, the industry will not be resting on its laurels next year. “In Ireland, Repak (the Irish scheme which helps companies reduce their packaging waste) has started a multi-material kerbside collection programme in Dublin,” said Wolper. “In Greece, collection systems for household packaging are still in their infancy and our industry is keen to co-operate with the Greek can-makers in order to set up a steel packaging recycling consortium in early 2002.”

However, due to vastly differing national waste management infrastructures, a 50% recycling rate for metal packaging in each country by 2006 – as stipulated in the directive – is unrealistic says APEAL.

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