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Sustainable Industry in the Context of Circular Economy Conference

13 September 2016, Kosice (Slovakia)

The conference is organised by the Employers’ Group of the European Economic and Social Committee and the Slovakian National Union of Employers. Representatives from different steel industry fields are invited to this panel to explain role of business in the transition to a more circular economy package. In this context, APEAL was explaining how an industry such as steel and using the example of steel for packaging can positively impact the circular economy model. The actual question for discussion was: “The packaging materials are an obvious subject of targets and management within the circular economy. Is the steel packaging sector further ahead when compared with other businesses? In what ways?”

Implementing the circular economy package will affect the packaging industry by requiring higher recycling across all EU member states, including Slovakia, and by introducing a progressive landfill ban. At the same time packaging markets in Slovakia are growing and increasing amounts of packaging waste need to be dealt with, in a sustainable way.

The packaging targets for ferrous metals proposed by the EC are 75% recycling for 2025 and 85% recycling for 2030. These ambitious, but achievable, targets will apply to all countries.

The steel packaging sector is ahead of the other packaging materials, steel is already the most recycled packaging material in Europe. Actually it is believed to be able to achieve more than the Circular Economy package is asking for.


Copyright: rhfletcher (shutterstock)

Steel life cycle is a true example of the circular economy at work:

  • Steel for packaging industry has already closed the material loop.
  • All by-products from production are reused. Steel scrap is required in the production process for new steel so all steel plants are de facto also recycling plants and all steel packaging scrap can be effectively recycled, including that extracted from bottom ashes after incineration.
  • Steel is easy and economical to recover.
  • Because steel is a permanent material, it can be recycled over and over again, without loss of material qualities.

Increase of steel recycling is an incredible opportunity for Slovakia. The recycling rate for steel in this country is currently 57% (compared with the EU average of 76%). Further improvements should be made as steel is easy and economical to recover from any waste stream due to magnetic properties. Recycling facilities already exist and the demand for steel scrap is higher than supply -unlike other packaging materials.

Green dot system exists in Slovakia thus it should help to improve collection systems and sorting and to create awareness of the benefits of recycling and understanding for the systems in place. 

Panel participants

Axel EGGERT, EUROFER–European Steel Association, Director General

Markus BEYRER, Director General of BusinessEurope

Kestutis SADAUSKAS, director in charge of Circular Economy; DG environment of the European commission

Antonello PEZZINI, rapporteur on the circular economy package; European Economic and Social Commitee

Miroslav KIRAĽVARGA, National Union of Employers of Slovakia, President 

Tomáš MALATINSKÝ, Federation of Employers' Associations of the Slovak Republic, President

Stéphane TONDO, APEAL-Association of European Producers of steel for packaging, President Designate


Preserving, a way of life


Related information

European Economic and Social Committee
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