Steel packaging recycling rates across Europe remained flat in 2012 compared to the previous year, according to the latest figures from the Association of European Producers of Steel for Packaging (APEAL).
The statistics, the most recent available, show that 74% of European steel packaging was recycled, amounting to around 2.7 million tonnes. The recycling rate was the same as in 2011, when 2.6 million tonnes were recycled.
APEAL said that steel packaging recycling rates have increased threefold over the last 20 years thanks to the material’s infinite recyclability, ease of recovery and producers’ greater understanding of the benefits or recycling.
However, APEAL secretary general Alexander Mohr said that although the figures showed a continued dedication to recycling, improvements were still necessary.
“While steel maintains its position as the most recycled packaging material in Europe, it is clear there is still some work to be done in order for the industry to hit its vision of 80% recycling rate by 2020,” he said.
Mohr said that he was confident that the figure was attainable.
“APEAL has no doubt that these targets will be achieved especially when you consider that the top five recycling countries in Europe already have an average steel recycling rate of 90%,” he added.
According to APEAL, compared to steel packaging, recycling rates for plastic, beverage cartons, aluminium and glass are 35%, 39%, 68% and 70%, respectively.
Recycling steel uses 70% less energy than producing it from virgin sources, APEAL said.