Europe recycles more steel packaging

Some 52% of steel packaging was recycled across eight European countries in 1997, a seven-point increase compared with 45% in 1996, but still behind Japan and the USA, which recycled 80% and 61% respectively.

According to latest figures from the Association of European Producers of Steel for Packaging (Apeal), Germany came top of the class, as usual, with 84%, closely followed by Austria (75%) and Sweden (70%). France, the UK and Spain all made significant improvements, reaching 46%, 31% and 25% respectively. In Belgium and The Netherlands, the recycling rates for metal packaging (steel and aluminium) reached 59% and 67% respectively.
This means that steel for packaging has met the recycling objectives of the European Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste (15% per material and 25-45% globally for all packaging materials) well before the June 2001 deadline, says Apeal.

These eight countries all have national strategies for the collection, sorting and recycling of packaging, through organisations like Fost Plus (B), Valpak (UK), Eco-Emballages (F), Stichting Kringloop Blik (NL), Duales System Deutschland (D), Ecoembes (E), Metallkretsen (S), and ARA (A). Under the Directive, other European countries should be setting up similar systems for establishing multi-material collection systems. Steel is one of the easiest materials to separate, due to its magnetic properties.

Portugal’s recycling rates are expected to increase progressively due to the creation of the organisation Sociedade Ponto Verde and plans to construct an incinerator for Lisbon. Italy, Greece and Ireland have all mainly relied on landfill, and are yet to establish collection systems for all packaging materials.

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