Recycling rate of tinplate increased to 93.6 per cent

New record in tinplate recycling

Andernach, (PresseBox) - The recycling rate for tinplate in Germany is now 93.6 percent. The recovery rate for used steel packages in 2008 thus topped the already high prioryear figure by another 2 percentage points. The increase was even more pronounced in the proportion of recoverable tinplate packages from private households: up 2.9 percentage points to 95.8 percent in 2008. The increased recycling rate relates to a virtually unchanged overall consumption of approx. 498,000 tons of packaging steel in Germany. Compared with 2007, the tonnage of tinplate recovered from household waste rose by 11,300 to 412,000 tons. These excellent figures, outstanding throughout Europe, demonstrate how efficiently Rasselstein - Germany's sole producer - exercises its product stewardship for this packaging material. The legal requirement for a recycling rate of 70 percent has been consistently surpassed for more than ten years, with a continuously upward trend. The recycling rates are determined annually by Gesellschaft für Verpackungsmarktforschung mbH, a market research organization based in Mainz, Germany.

The main actors assuring nearly 100% recycling of packaging steel into the production process are DWR Deutsche Gesellschaft für Weißblechrecycling mbH and Kreislaufsystem Blechverpackungen Stahl GmbH (KBS). With the help of these two service companies, Rasselstein collects used packages from household and commercial waste and returns them to the steel producing industry as valuable secondary raw materials. Considering that recycling has now come close to onehundred percent for packaging steel, the companies are mainly concentrating on improving the quality still further. "We arrange for the material to be pretreated effectively to decontaminate containers of chemical products before they are fed back into the steel production process," explains KBS managing partner Klaus Neuhaus-Wever. With the shredding of tinplate from household and similar uses, introduced in 2007, DWR is following the same goal: "By using these cutting techniques, we can efficiently separate packaging steel from product residues and other contaminants resulting from use in a household environment," says managing director Edmund van Dyck, explaining the DWR approach. "This way, we have reduced the proportion of foreign substances in tinplate scrap by another 90 percent compared to untreated fractions."

Rasselstein has thus been demonstrating for years that packaging steel is an exceptionally advantageous material in terms of sustainability and resource conservation. No other material can be recycled as easily, completely and lossfree as steel. Because of its magnetic properties, tinplate can be separated out at any stage of the recycling route with a minimum of effort. The scrap - an indispensable input material for steelmaking - is reprocessed to new steel without the slightest loss in quality.

Industry representatives therefore consider current moves by individual recycling companies to drastically raise the charges for tinplate packages to be inappropriate. "We are concerned about the attempts to increase the prices for tinplate in the Dual System to aboveaverage levels," states Rasselstein Executive Board Chairman Dr. Ulrich Roeske. "This could result in an unwarranted distortion of competition for which there are no justifiable economic grounds. We are therefore actively searching for alternative solutions, while hoping that prices will once again be brought closer in line with the actual recycling costs."

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