EU recognise metals as ‘permanent material’

Permanent materials, including metals, have been recognised as a new resource category by the European Parliament. Industry body Metal Packaging Europe (MPE), which has worked hard to bring resource efficiency to the forefront of EU Policy, has welcomed the move.

On 24 May 2012 the European Parliament endorsed the European Commission’s Resource Efficiency Roadmap, specifically calling for ‘permanent materials’ to be made a new resource category. This category now works alongside the existing categories of ‘renewable’ and ‘non-renewable’ resources.

The vote by the European Parliament officially recognises the positive contribution which infinitely recyclable permanent materials, such as metals used in can making, can make to society.

Decoupling resource use from consumption is a key focus for Metal Packaging Europe, which comprises leaders from the major aluminium, steel and packaging converter companies.

Anders Linde (pictured), secretary general for MPE, welcomed the endorsement. He said: “The vote by the European Parliament is the first step towards recognising the concept of permanent materials in EU policy. It will help create a true recycling society based on a closed material loop.”

Metal Packaging Europe also welcomed the focus, set by the European Parliament, on recyclability and the promotion of innovative collection, sorting and recycling technologies as major elements of Europe’s roadmap towards resource efficiency.

“Metals are infinitely recyclable while preserving their virgin metal qualities – they have infinite recycling possibilities and have the ability to constantly deliver new applications in a permanent material loop without depleting the earth’s resources,” adds Linde.

Concurrently the ‘permanent materials’ concept has officially been defined by British Standards as “materials for which efforts are made to retain for use in society the energy and raw materials invested in their production at the end of the product life, either through reuse or recycling, with no loss of quality no matter how many times the material is recycled.”

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