At the recent Smithers Pira Sustainability in Packaging Europe conference in Barcelona, Metal Packaging Europe underlined the importance placed by consumers for clear facts on packaging materials’ recycling performance.
European business and sustainability manager Lena Nover explained how consumers are key in the recycling process and expect to be kept updated on results being achieved.
Metal is a leader in recycling, she said. Steel for packaging recorded an average European recycling rate of 78% in 2015, a record performance, which included five countries exceeding 85%. Meanwhile the aluminium beverage can has recently been certified as the world’s most recycled drinks container.
However, Nover went on to say that there remains much to do to reach the 2020 metal packaging industry ambition of a 80% European average rate. To reach this objective, consumer engagement campaigns are crucial, she said. This has been highlighted by the recent industry campaign in the Netherlands led by Albert Heijn, promoting the industry’s on-pack logo “Metal Recycles Forever.”
Finally, Nover underscored the need for the right legislative framework to create a functioning Circular Economy. It is inherent in a circular economy that it starts and ends with a new product, she said. Recycling rates are a very good indicator of whether or not recyclates are used for new applications.
Packaging and packaging waste policies should be based on sound life-cycle assessments, she said. In a Circular Economy this means the focus should be on multiple-life-cycles.