80% of all metal ever produced is still in circulation today.
Recycling and sustainability
The UK metal packaging industry, along with its European counterparts, spearheads the continual drive to not only produce the most material efficient metal packaging possible, but also to provide packaging that offers other significant benefits such as significantly reducing food waste and producing paint cans that are still fully recyclable despite contamination from paint.
The industry’s recycling infrastructure, developed over many decades, has resulted in a UK recycling rate for steel packaging of 71 per cent and aluminium (primarily beverage cans) of 76 per cent.
The sector’s target of a 100 per cent recycling rate for metal is a real possibility thanks to metal’s easy separation from the waste stream, either by consumers at home or by magnetic extraction and eddy currents further down the line. And it’s a fact that all metal collected for recycling, is recycled and is reused.
Metal is officially recognised as a permanently available material (British Standard 8905) – a material whose inherent properties are not changed by repeatedly being recycling into new products. Metal can be recycled an infinite number of times with no loss of quality, and it’s estimated that 80 per cent of all metal ever produced is still in circulation today.
Metal’s sustainability credentials are captured in just three words: Metal Recycles Forever.
“Metal can be recycled again and again with no loss of quality, and when it is recycled it saves significant amounts of primary raw materials, energy and CO2. Once primary ore is converted into metal, as long as we look after it, we will have it forever. This infinite recyclability is key to reducing the pressure on the world’s natural resources and why recycling metal is so important. Our vision is for a 100 percent metal packaging recycling rate,” said Robert Fell, Director and CEO, MPMA.