The world of metal packaging has an opportunity to change consumer attitudes to its products, provided it effectively exploits a decision by the European Union (EU) to adopt the Circular Economy Package (CEP).

While this will have limited impact on a world scale, the experience could be applied more widely once the ball is rolling.

Consumers are increasingly aware that packaging waste is blotting the environment and impacting wildlife. They should be reminded that it is the aluminium and steel cans they use that are the most recycled, and by doing so would help the circular economy.

The expectation is that the CEP will be formally adopted this month by ministers at European Council level so that industry will be able to move towards an economy in which the generation of waste is minimised. This will contribute to the EU’s efforts to develop a sustainable, low-carbon, resource efficient and competitive economy.

This is an important milestone, because the concept of ‘multiple recycling’ will also be adopted. This is based on the idea of packaging being made from permanent materials, such as aluminium and steel, and kept in the material loop to help maintain the circular economy.

In most parts of the world the idea that metal cans have an inherent value has not been forgotten, but in all developed economies the CEP could remind consumers of their benefits.

So now, as the canmaking world gathers this month in China for Cannex, let’s shout more about why cans are such a sustainable and resource-efficient form of packaging.

Cannex will also offer a forum to showcase dramatically-new technologies. We live in a world in which flexibility in manufacture is vital for success in meeting changing consumer demands. We’re not far from a time when canmaking plants will have the capability of producing both high volumes and wide ranges of highly-decorated products. The technologies will be on view at Cannex. So be there to join in the new dawn of canmaking.