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Issue #13, March 2016


Welcome to a very special edition of Steel for Packaging Update.

Why is this edition so special?

April marks the 30th anniversary of APEAL which was formed in 1986.

We’ve chosen this newsletter to announce two important campaigns to mark our anniversary, focusing on the past, present and future of steel for packaging.

In addition Alexander’s regular “Inside Brussels” column gives you an update on the European Circular Economy Package. And we discuss a crucial breakthrough in understanding the new materials category of “Permanent materials”.

Finally, we outline details of a recent report from Germany showing how steel packaging strongly preserves the nutritional value, freshness and quality of vegetables.

Thanks to all our loyal readers and I hope you will join us in celebrating 30 years of APEAL as the reference of steel for packaging in Europe.

And looking forward to the next 30 years…


Patricia Mobbs, Editor

Inside Brussels - Alexander Mohr on steel for packaging in European policy discussions

Since the European Commission (EC) announced its new Circular Economy Package (CEP) last December, the subject has dominated the packaging, waste and sustainability agenda in Brussels and elsewhere.

Apprehension, scepticism and debate about the package are understandable given the importance of the breakthrough. In particular, varied stakeholder groups are raising questions about how achievable the proposed recycling targets are.

However, we at APEAL recognise that moving closer towards a circular economy is more realistic than many think – and the steel for packaging industry is leading the way. The recycling targets proposed for steel within the circular economy package are ambitious but achievable: 75% by 2025 and 85% by 2030, for all member states.

The average steel packaging recycling rate in Europe is currently 75% (based on 2013 figures). Some member states such as Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands already recycle more than 90% of the steel packaging they use. And the Circular Economy Package’s split recycling target for metals will foster greater understanding of the recycling performance of individual metals.

Currently, the CEP is with the European Parliament. As it passes through this parliamentary process, we will continue to ensure understanding and support for steel as a sustainable and resource efficient packaging solution.

Steel is recognised by the European Environment Agency as an example for resource efficiency (SOER 2015 report). We will actively raise awareness and knowledge about the best steel recycling practices in Europe that have enabled this.

For EU-level political impetus is essential if we are to drive wider use of sustainable materials such as steel. National governments must properly encourage increased recycling rates. In parallel, manufacturers must privilege recyclable materials into their design and production processes. And brands need to accentuate their environmental credentials as consumer environmental awareness increases.

Only when market demand takes over, can a circular economy really begin to take effect.


“A 75% steel packaging recycling target for all EU member states is ambitious but achievable”

Alexander Mohr, 2016 Packaging & Waste Sustainability forum, Brussels

Circular economy microsite

Steel - the Permanent Material in the Circular Economy” micro-site has been launched by worldsteel.

Visit website
APEAL – 30 years as the reference
30 years

Birthdays and anniversaries: a time to celebrate, reflect and look forward for all of us.

Here at APEAL, with our 30th anniversary coming up in April, we’re getting ready for two exciting projects to illustrate the past, present and future story of steel for packaging.

APEAL was founded in 1986 by the predecessor companies of ArcelorMittal, Tata Steel and thyssenkrupp Packaging Steel, joined subsequently by U.S. Steel Kosice.Together they aimed to ensure recognition by canmakers, retailers, brands and policy makers alike of the qualities and benefits of using steel for packaging.

Since then we’ve made great progress in creating EU-wide awareness of steel as a unique packaging material, combining exceptional performance capabilities with unrivalled environmental credentials.

Our impressive recycling rate continues to rise. In parallel, the European Commission is encouraging the move towards a more resource efficient Europe through its Circular Economy Package. In this context our two new initiatives will, amongst other things, help highlight how steel packaging enables this circular economy.

The first campaign, “30 years – 30 facts about steel”, is a light and bitesize campaign to remind our stakeholders and newer audiences of the remarkable qualities of steel packaging. Each day of our April anniversary month we will publish one key fact about steel on our social media pages @APEAL_EU on Twitter and APEAL on LinkedIn.

The second campaign will investigate the future of the packaging industry in the eyes of four industry experts in the fields of environment and recycling, food and nutrition, packaging design and logistics and transport. We’ll be asking them to predict trends and analyse the landscape ahead, mapping out likely effects of the current Circular Economy Package on their four fields.

We very much hope you’ll enjoy both features and invite you to join us all at APEAL in looking forward to an equally successful next 30 years.


Download full infographic

Nutrition, freshness and flavour – it’s all in the can

Recent research from Germany has highlighted the extent to which steel cans protect valuable nutrients in food, retaining product freshness as well as flavour. All with an unrivalled shelf life of up to three years and without adding preservatives.

The research, carried out in 2015 by SGS Fresenius Institute in Germany has confirmed that vegetables stored in steel cans contain vitamin and mineral levels that are just as high as freshly cooked vegetables.

Undertaken on behalf of “Initiative Lebensmitteldose” (food can initiative) – a partnership between 10 German manufacturers in the food and packaging industries – the report showed that in some cases, nutrients were even higher within canned vegetables than their freshly prepared counterparts.

This new European research backs up previous research on the nutritional value of canned food from research centres in the U.S.

In 2015 Dr. Marjorie Freedman, Associate Professor at the San Jose State University presented research showing that adults who eat canned fruits and vegetables consume more fruits and vegetables than those who do not eat canned varieties. They also have an increased intake of some essential nutrients, including fiber and potassium.

In 2012 Dr. Cathy Kapica (adjunct professor of nutrition at Tufts University) concluded that canned foods were a more convenient source of essential nutrients compared to fresh, frozen or dried when purchase price, waste and preparation time are taken into account. Her findings were published in the Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences.

These findings come as no surprise to APEAL, of course. They only cement arguments we’ve been making for 30 years.

Canned food enriches your daily diet in a convenient and healthy way.

This study could prove another vital step in getting the information across to brands and, ultimately, consumers.

For more information on the report, visit www.initiative-lebensmitteldose.de

For more information on the U.S. research visit www.mealtime.org


“A 75% steel packaging recycling target for all EU member states is ambitious but achievable”

Alexander Mohr, 2016 Packaging & Waste Sustainability forum, Brussels

Permanent materials are making an impact

Steel’s status as a “Permanent material” is steadily earning recognition in policymaking circles, backed up with new research by a Swiss consultancy.

“Permanent materials” are officially defined as materials that, once produced, can be recycled or reused without the loss of quality, regardless of how often the material is recycled.

In 2012 the European Parliament voted to categorise steel in the new resource category of “Permanent materials”. The vote effectively recognised the positive role of permanent materials such as steel in society and the need to create a new resource category alongside the existing ones of “renewable” and “non-renewable”.

A more detailed and precise categorisation of packaging materials has now been identified by the Swiss consultancy Carbotech together with an expert group from the metal packaging sector.

The 2015 Carbotech study examined both the chemical and physical properties of a material to help define what is permanent and non-permanent. The research elaborated on the differences between materials that lose their inherent properties when recycled (ie. they degrade) and materials that do not.

For example, a material like steel demonstrates a robust chemical structure that safeguards its inherent characteristics during melting or vaporising. As such steel can be infinitely recycled, bringing significant savings in material resources.

This new categorisation and the technical research backing it are a breakthrough, since the “Permanent materials” concept of infinite recycling perfectly matches society’s vision for a circular economy.

Giving us, at APEAL, another reason to make our case for the relevance of steel as a model material for the circular economy.

For more information about the Carbotech study www.metalpackagingeurope.org/metal-packaging-industry-provides-new-insight-into-efficient-resource-management/


APEAL was formed 30 years ago, on April 1st 1986

APEAL in the media

The Parliament Magazine - January
Alexander Mohr gives thoughts on what the Circular Economy package and how steel is leading the way
Link to PDF


Cantech - February
APEAL speaks to CanTech about the implications of the Circular Economy Package for the steel packaging industry


EU Observer - March
Explaining how steel for packaging is on track to meet EU recycling targets.


Recycling and Waste World - March
Data trends piece looking at steel’s impressive recycling rates across Europe and discussing the other qualities which position it as the ideal material for a circular economy.
Link to PDF


From Twitter

Great to see wider recognition for steel's "permanent material" status @worldsteel www.worldsteel.org/media-centre/press-releases...

Tata Steel in Europe @TataSteelEurope - Feb 12
#DidYouKnow vegetables stored in steel cans contain the same vitamin and mineral levels as fresh veg! @APEAL_EU bit.ly/1Tg1QtP

Parliament Magazine @Parlimag - Jan 29
Steel packaging industry leading the way to #CircularEconomy, says @APEAL_EU's Alexander Mohr bit.ly/1nsEVOm

@PackagingNet Global Packaging Summit in Brussels. A lot of interest in #CircularEconomy and #steelforpackaging here

EUWID Verpackung @euwidverpackung - Dec 15
Europäische Produzenten von Verpackungsstahl begrüßen Vorschlag zum #Kreislaufwirtschaftspaket @APEAL_EU #Stahl euwid-verpackung.de/news/markt/einzelansicht/Artikel/europaeische-produzenten-von-verpackungsstahl-begruessen-vorschlag-zum-kreislaufwirtschaftspaket.html...

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