Steel packaging is, traditionally, one of the best ways to pack an infinite number of consumer products, because it avoids wastage and protects the integrity of its content during transportation and commercialisation. Besides being recyclable an infinite number of times, it decomposes when submitted to the action of time for a period of 3 to 10 years, coming back to nature as iron oxide after this period of time.
When discarded after usage, the steel packaging is easily segregated by electromagnetic means and it can be recycled, having the possibility of being used again and again in the production of new packaging or other products. The steel packaging recycling allows, besides the mineral economy, an energy consumption reduction of about 74 %.
The recycling of steel packaging in Europe has surpassed 2,1 million tons and reached a level to 61 % in 2003, according an APEAL (European Steel Manufacturers for packaging) survey. The percentage of recycling in the EU countries varies between 15 % (Greece) and 94 % (Belgium, with a common percentage for steel and aluminium), having been registered in Portugal a 55 % rate in 2003.
Practical, clean, light and resistant, steel packaging also stands out as the best packaging from an environmental point of view, because it is 100 % recyclable and it decomposes when submitted to the action of time.