Things to keep in mind about metal packaging

Metal as sustainable packaging with potential

From May 2 to 6, the world's leading trade fair METPACK 2023 will take place at Messe Essen. For five days, more than 300 exhibitors from 26 nations will present their innovations for the production, refinement and recycling of metal packaging to an international trade audience. Packaging made of steel and aluminium is particularly suitable for recycling and is therefore regarded as a future-proof and sustainable packaging material. Here are some facts about metal packaging:

  •   Metal packaging is a true all-rounder. They come in many different sizes and shapes, made of packaging steel or aluminium. They are strong yet lightweight protective covers for food and beverages, cosmetics and hygiene products, and also for chemicals and paints.
  •   The metal packaging industry is innovative when it comes to saving material: While the weight of a package of a tinplate canned vegetable (4,250 ml) was still around 95.3 grams per liter in 1995, the packaging of a canned vegetable only accounted for around 88.8 grams per liter in 2020. This represents a decrease of 6.8 percent. Aluminium beverage cans account for only three percent of the total weight.
  •   Metal packaging is made of durable materials and is perfect for a circular economy. Both aluminium and steel can be recycled again and again without losing their specific properties. This reduces the need for primary raw materials. 80 percent of the aluminium and steel ever produced is still in use.
  •   Every ton of packaging steel that is recycled saves over two tons of raw material (iron ore, coal, limestone).
  •   Recycled steel also saves up to 70 percent of the energy that would be needed to produce new packaging steel.
  •   From an environmental perspective, recycling metal packaging reduces greenhouse gas emissions associated with steel and aluminium manufacturing by approximately 50 percent respectively 60 percent.
  •   Metal is the most commonly recycled packaging. 85.5 percent of steel packaging and 73 percent of aluminum beverage cans are recycled in Europe.
  •   100 percent of tinplate collected from waste is recycled for new products. Proper waste separation is therefore a prerequisite for a functioning circular economy.
  •   More than 3.9 billion beverage cans were sold in Germany in 2019 – an increase of ten percent compared to 2018 and the highest figure in 17 years.
  •   Within the EU, 760 companies produce metal packaging and employ 66,000 workers; in addition, 111,000 jobs are indirectly linked to the metal packaging industry.
  •   EU citizens consume on average four units of metal packaging per week and per capita.
  •   Beverage cans account for 29 percent of the total EU market, food cans 24 percent. Closures account for 23 percent, general lines for 15 percent, aerosol cans for seven percent and specialties for two percent.
  •   The global metal packaging market was estimated at $108.8 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $147.4 billion by 2030, with an average growth rate of 3.1 percent between 2021 and 2030.


  •   Metal Packaging Europe (MPE), Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) 2022
  •   MPE, Consumer rigid metal packaging in Europe 2012-2016
  •   Forum Getränkedose, Press Release 2020
  •   APEAL – the Association of European Producers of Steel for Packaging: Report "Why Steel recycles forever" 2022
  •   Working Group Packaging + Environment; dvi; Fachverband Faltschachtel-Industrie; Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen; IPV; bvse; GVM, Study 2022
  •   Metal Packaging Market, Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast 2020-2030 (2022).