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Sustainability in steel packaging – Why steel is the material of choice for a circular economy


APEAL – The Association of European Producers of steel for packaging, Brussels, Belgium


Consumers are increasingly concerned about how much packaging they use, and businesses are more conscious than ever of their environmental impact. While alternatives to steel packaging have been presented as a lighter, greener, more convenient successor to the tin can, in fact steel remains the material most suited to a sustainable, circular economy. Although cans have been used to preserve food since the early 19th century, we are a world away from the wrought iron original, and the steel can continues to evolve with innovation evident across the sector.


There has never been more choice when it comes to packaging materials, but sustainability is becoming an increasingly important influencing factor in that choice for producers and manufacturers.

Often the newest products are seen as the best, the most innovative, and therefore the most efficient. However, when considering food packaging, we must be careful not to overlook a solution that has been effectively and efficiently preserving food for two centuries.

Steel not only continues to serve its original purpose more effectively than any other packaging material but continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of both producers and consumers.

Moreover, the unique properties of steel make it a clear winner in terms of sustainability. 


To understand the environmental performance of a product, its entire life cycle needs to be taken into consideration, from resources, energy and emissions at the production stage to end‐of‐life, including recycling. Since steel can be recycled indefinitely without loss of qual ...

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