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Issue #16, March 2017


It’s all coming together for steel for packaging.

Voting on the Circular Economy Package in the European Parliament has brought endorsements for many concepts that APEAL supports -  real recycling, multiple recycling, permanent materials, high (but achievable) recycling rates and a specific recycling target for steel as opposed to a combined target for metals.

At the same time our wider industry is throwing its combined weight behind the new Metal Packaging Europe, of which APEAL will continue to be an active member.

Finally, as we continue celebrating 30 years of APEAL, we thank Prof. Roland ten Klooster for his contribution on why steel is, and will continue to be, a top choice for packaging designers looking to combine “stopping power” with efficiency.

Patricia Mobbs, Editor

Inside Brussels – Alexis Van Maercke on steel and the circular economy

Real progress is underway towards a truly circular economy in Europe.

The 14th March plenary vote on the Circular Economy Package (CEP) by the European Parliament (EP) has given a strong push in the right direction.

At APEAL, we particularly welcomed the following:

  • A specific steel recycling target: As opposed to the current legislation which combines steel and aluminium in a joint metal target. This approach will foster greater understanding of the recycling performance of all permanent materials.
  • Backing of ‘multiple recycling’ by a large majority of MEP’s: By introducing the concept of multiple recycling the EP contributes to increasing understanding of the corresponding concept of permanent materials such as steel, that can be recycled multiple times, indeed forever.
  • Measurement point of recycling placed at the input to the final recycling process: Indeed, this point corresponds to the point of ‘real recycling’.

But work remains.

In the forthcoming discussions, we encourage all EU member states to take the principle of multiple recycling on board in the final legislation and incorporate also the ‘permanent materials’ concept in the Council text.

And we will also strongly urge the safeguarding the ‘internal market’ legal base of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive. Member States’ national waste legislation proposals should preserve the Internal market and the free circulation of packaging and packaged goods. We will be actively calling upon EU policy makers to strengthen the legal framework in this direction.

"Re-use, recycling and recovery are becoming the key words around which a new paradigm needs to be built to promote sustainability, innovation and competitiveness, so that waste will cease to be a problem and become a resource"

Simona Bonafè, MEP & CEP Rapporteur

Steel for Packaging, designed for efficiency - a contribution from Prof. Roland ten Klooster

Steel was first used as a packaging material more than 200 years ago.

Old images reveal that early design was very functional. The can was closed with a dome-shaped top with a ring attached to carry the can. It featured a hand-written label to identify the contents and where they came from.

This may have been a primitive design, but it had almost everything we’d recognise in modern packaging: protection, product identification, convenience and portability.

The steel can was a revolution in the world of food packaging, providing the first successful industrial scale conserving and packing of food.

Continue reading

Steel for Packaging in the Circular Economy


APEAL’s new Circular Economy animation is now reaching facebook users

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MYTHBUSTER 3 – the point of "real recycling"

Whilst recycling rate targets have dominated many headlines in recent Circular Economy Package (CEP) debates, the way to calculate them has also been heavily discussed.

 If we wish to create a level playing field across EU members states and packaging materials, the review and harmonisation of the recycling rate calculation method is essential, as several different approaches are currently being used in the packaging industry.

Indeed, some materials have for many years measured recycling rate as the waste that is collected before non-recyclables and impurities are taken out. But this means that more material is being counted as recycled than is actually being recycled.

APEAL’s recycling rate has always measured the recovered materials that are actually sent to the recycling plant. We call this the point of “real recycling.”

The measurement of “real recycling”, meaning a calculation point of materials at the input to the final recycling process, is one of the cornerstones that needs to be in place for a truly circular economy in Europe.

We are encouraged that the majority of the MEPs agreed this during the European Parliament’s plenary vote last 14th March.  

Each EU citizen uses 3 units of metal packaging each week

Metal Packaging Europe - Stronger together
MPE Logo

A stronger, overarching metal packaging association was launched in March.

The merger of existing metal packaging associations into Metal Packaging Europe brings manufacturers, suppliers and national associations together into a stronger association speaking with one voice.

The views and interests of the rigid metal packaging industry in Europe will be promoted through coordinated activities in public affairs, and communications, as well as environmental and technical initiatives.

Meaning a stronger representation for metals such as steel to EU policymakers and other stakeholders across the European Union.

Along with APEAL, other members include Ardagh Group, ASA Group, Ball Packaging Europe, Blechwarenfabrik Limburg, Colep, CROWN Europe, Glud&Marstrand, HUBER Packaging Group, Massilly Holding, Sarten and Silgan Metal Packaging.

More information about Metal Packaging Europe?

Watch the animation

Steel for packaging, model material for a circular economy


Steel's inherent properties already meet the requirements of a circular economy.

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From Twitter


We're pleased that the concept of multiple recycling is endorsed by MEPs in the plenary vote on the #CircularEconomy Package!


Packaging Europe News -Leading Professor Highlights Design Possibilities of Steel for Packaging http://www.packagingeurope.com/Packaging-Euro... via @packagingeurope


Worldsteel @worldsteel - Mar 9
Alexis Van Maercke, SG @APEAL_EU talks about material qualities, #sustainability benefits of #steel for packaging http://ow.ly/b0ti309K98G


APEAL welcomes the general approach of the European Parliament Environment Committee’s #CircularEconomy package.


Leading environmental consultants highlight the value of #steel for #packaging. http://www.apeal.org/30-years-of-apeal/...

APEAL in the media

Alexis Van Maercke speaks to CanTech International about the challenges ahead for APEAL (English)


APEAL guest blogs at worldsteel on how steel for packaging is the ideal material for a circular economy, helping to reduce waste and close the material loop (English) .



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