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New all-time record in tinplate recycling rate in Germany

(PresseBox) (Andernach, ) 446,900 out of the 476,600 tons of used tinplate was fed back into the making of steel in Germany in 2010. That means Germany has achieved an unprecedented recycling rate of 93.9 percent. The figures have not been below the 90-percent mark since 2007. The previous record of 93.6 percent was set in 2008. The packaging market research organization, the Gesellschaft für Verpackungsmarktforschung (GVM), has recently published these figures in the current issue of its annual report on packaging recycling, "Recycling-Bilanz für Verpackungen".

All the tinplate circulating in the system, mostly called "packaging steel" these days, comes from used tins discarded in private households as well as from the tinplate packaging and production scrap generated in trade and industry. The GVM reported a recycling rate of 96.9 in the year in question - also an all-time high - in respect of the quantities accounted for by domestic consumption alone, which is about 84 percent of total consumption.

As the research shows, over 70 percent of the used packaging from private consumers is collected through the "dual systems" - mostly together with other easily separable household wrappings and containers. Steel packaging collected in the retail trade through various industry solutions accounts for 17 percent of the amount returned, which is the second highest percentage. The part played by the disposable drinks can in the collection systems is increasing again. The figures for the consumption and return of drinks cans increased again in 2010 for the first time since the deposit was introduced on disposable cans.

The current issue of Recycling-Bilanz reports that, in comparison to 2009, packaging steel was able to "consolidate" cyclical reductions in consumption and loss of market share and "even regain market share" in 2010 (see p. 65).

"Once again increasing its recycling rate packaging steel is further extending its leading position within the packaging material sector", explained Dr. Ulrich Roeske, Chairman of the Executive Board of Rasselstein, Germany's only tinplate manufacturer and a subsidiary of the ThyssenKrupp Group. "Full recyclability without any deterioration in quality and ease of separation due to the magnetic properties are characteristics which combine to make packaging steel the ultimate reusable material", continued Roeske. "Sustainability is right at the top of our agenda. One lever to further enhance our material's sustainability is based on the successful, ongoing efforts to reduce sheet thicknesses - equivalent to the increase in material effeciency.

The second lever to further enhance packaging steel sustainability is our successful work to close and to safeguard the cycle of recovery. The 2010 unprecedented record recycling rate is proof of our industry's successful contributions to the conservation of resources and to the reduction of the overall carbon emission of steel for packaging".

With an annual output of 1.5 million tons in Andernach, Rasselstein boasts the largest production capacity in the world at one single site. Rasselstein embraces its leading role in the German tinplate market by taking responsibility for closing the recycling loop in its domestic market with the aid of its subsidiary Deutsche Gesellschaft für Weißblechrecycling mbH (DWR) and the non-profit enterprise Kreislaufsystem Blechverpackungen Stahl GmbH (KBS). Both service providers are in the business of recycling used packaging, both from household consumption and from industry, and returning it to the steel production process where the valuable waste products largely obviate the need for iron ore, reducing agents, additives and energy.

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