Packaging recycling rates hit record high
According to recent statistics from Metal Packaging Europe, recycling rates for rigid metal packaging hit a record high in 2012, with 73.6% of this material being reprocessed for further use.
This progress is part of a voluntary commitment by the packaging industry to meet a target recycling rate of 80% by the year 2020 – a level that exceeds the rates for metals as a whole.
According to Joris Nachtergaele, Secretary General of Metal Packaging Europe, these improvements can be attributed in part to the properties of metals as technical material, stating “Metals recycle forever, the perfect example of materials for a circular economy”.
Mr Nachtergaele also noted that there were challenges to be overcome in increasing recycling rates in the fast moving consumer goods sector, highlighting “several European countries, regarding both the quantity and the quality of the recycled materials.”
Recycling does feature in the circular economy framework, as the outermost loop of the technical cycle. While studies such as the Towards the Circular Economy report have suggested that it is in fact the inner loops that provide the greatest benefit, single-use packaging is used widely in the FMCG sector. Every year, around 80% of the US$ 3.2 trillion value of fast-moving consumer goods is lost irrecoverably in incinerators or landfills, presenting a significant economic opportunity in terms of improved cycling of materials, which could include easier collection and separation processes or maintaining purity.
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