Tata Steel moves to champion UK kerbside metal packaging recycling

Europe's second largest steel producer Tata Steel will increase its support for a UK-based behaviour change initiative aimed at boosting the recycling rates for metal packaging collected at kerbside.

Tata Steel, which is the largest supplier and recycler of steel used in packaging sold to the UK market, is a founding member of the UK MetalMatters campaign, aimed at helping local authorities promote kerbside metal recycling.

According to the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro) – one of the overseers of the campaign – Tata Steel has committed to increasing its involvement in the initiative, which will help expand it across more local authorities.

Alupro’s executive director of project managers Rick Hindley said: “We are delighted that Tata Steel has committed to increase their support for MetalMatters. The additional contribution will allow us to expand the programme into even more local authority areas – we are currently identifying new opportunities to deploy the programme with local authorities and waste management companies for our 2018 schedule.”

Tata Steel’s combined group has an aggregate crude steel capacity of more than 29m tonnes and has been an integral member in driving behaviour change across authorities and households in regard to recycling metal packaging.

The MetalMatters campaign aims to boost the capture rate of recyclable metal packaging in households, such as tin cans, aerosols and food containers. So far, it is operational across 81 local authorities in the UK, directly targeting more than 5.3m households. Metal manufacturers such as Tata Steel are helping to fund the initiative.

Tata Steel’s packaging education manager Nicola Jones said: “MetalMatters is a great example of industry and local authorities working together to engage local communities, increase recycling rates for metal packaging and reducing its product carbon footprint.

“We recognise that local authorities are under huge financial pressures which is impacting on their ability to deliver communications programmes essential for boosting recycling rates. The proven MetalMatters programme delivers impressive improvements in metal packaging recycling rates every time it is deployed. We will also be encouraging our packaging customers to get involved.”

Not staying steel

According to the Association of European Producers of Steel for Packaging (APEAL), 77.5% of steel packaging across Europe is recycled. The European steel industry is aiming to increase the rate to 80% by 2020.

More than 22bn tonnes of steel have been recycled globally since 1900, according to worldsteel. For every tonne of scrap made into new steel, manufacturers can save more than 1,400kg of iron ore and 740kg of coal, as well as reductions in emissions, energy consumption and water use.

Tata Steel is still recovering from the financial impacts that plagued the company in 2016. Experts have suggested that the circular economy would work well as a potential solution, with Tata Steel’s Port Talbot production plant well-positioned to become a national remanufacturing hub as a way of securing a more sustainable future.

Matt Mace

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