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Steel leads the way

Steel continues to lead the way in post-consumer packaging recycling, with over 2.2 million tonnes recycled in Europe last year.

Latest figures show that performances have improved across the board with an overall recycling rate of 62.5% amongst European Union countries compared to 61% in 2003.

The Association of European Producers of Steel for Packaging (APEAL) managing director Philippe Wolper said: "Since steel packaging is economical to collect and easy to separate, it is no surprise that steel consolidates its position year by year as leader in packaging recycling in Europe."

The best progression was registered in the Czech Republic, with its rate rising from 29% to 37% in the space of a year.

Wolper added: "As steel scrap is an essential ingredient in steel manufacturing, there is always ample demand for recycled steel."

Over the last 10 years, more than 16 million tonnes of steel packaging has been recycled, saving 40 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, with Spain performing most notably, increasing its rate by 121% in the last five years.

While the UK still lags behind many of its European neighbours, its steel recycling rates have risen by 41% during this time.

APEAL puts the success down to the adaptability of steel to a wide range of collection systems, with food cans, aerosols and other household packaging now collected alongside beverage cans.

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