New Life Cycle Assessment of metal packaging shows significant reduction in greenhouse gases emissions

Metal Packaging Europe, the association of European producers of rigid metal packaging, has completed a new Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of metal packaging including aluminium beverage cans, aluminium and steel food cans, steel aerosols, steel general line and speciality packaging and steel closures.

Based on 2018 production data, the study covers the life cycle of metal packaging produced in Europe, from raw material extraction through manufacturing and end-of-life.

When compared to the previous LCAs, the study records significant reductions in greenhouse gases emissions, confirming the industry’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions and to decouple production from its carbon footprint. The main factors which have made this progress possible are:

  • improvements taking place in raw material production over time;
  • improvements in the can manufacturing processes, including an increase in energy and resource efficiency;
  • a reduction in can weight, of 2% for aluminium beverage cans, for example, and 1% for steel food cans; and
  • an increase in aluminium and steel packaging recycling rates, with the beverage can recycling rate currently at 76% and steel packaging reaching 84%.

From a climate change perspective, results for the aluminium beverage cans show that the impact on climate change has been reduced by around 50% over the 2006 – 2018 period.

For steel packaging, results show that over the 2000 – 2018 period, the impact on climate change has been reduced by:

  • over 30% for food cans and general line packaging;
  • just under 20% for aerosol can (2006 – 2018);
  • over 40% for closures; and
  • over 10% for speciality packaging.

In addition to these noteworthy achievements over the past couple of years, a further 8% reduction in greenhouse gases emissions has been attained by the tinplate industry in Europe over the 2013 – 20192 period.

“Providing fact-based and unambiguous information on our industry continues to be a part of Metal Packaging Europe’s commitments. We are delighted with the significant progress already made by our members and are confident that even higher reductions will be achieved in the coming years thanks to a combination of initiatives helping to improve the sustainability of the can manufacturing process and ever-increasing recycling rates across Europe,” said Leonie Knox-Peebles, CEO of Metal Packaging Europe.

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