Packaging Waste : Austria focuses on standardisation of packaging collection as of 2023

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For many years, ARA (Altstoff Recycling Austria) has been campaigning for a uniform collection of plastic packaging. "The collection was handled differently within the individual federal states and this led to uncertainty among many citizens about the correct waste separation," explains ARA Board Spokesman Harald Hauke. The Packaging Ordinance will now change this from next year: from 1 January 2023, all plastic packaging will be collected in the yellow bin or the yellow bag. In 2025, the joint collection of plastic and metal packaging will be mandatory throughout Austria. The federal provinces of Carinthia, Lower Austria, Salzburg and Vienna as well as some districts in Upper Austria are already implementing this step in 2023. The remaining federal provinces will continue to collect plastic and metal packaging separately in the next two years in the yellow bin or in the yellow bag and the blue bin.

Collection increase of 20 % expected

With the collection changeover, more plastic packaging is to be recycled. "We expect an increase in collection of up to 20% for plastic packaging in 2023. This is an important step for more climate protection and for achieving the EU recycling targets, because we have to double the recycling of plastic packaging in Austria by 2025," explains Hauke. With the increasing collection volumes, additional sorting capacities will be required for maximum recycling. To this end, ARA is building a high-tech sorting plant with an annual capacity of up to 100,000 tonnes together with partners in Upper Austria.

ARA Board Spokesman Harald Hauke - © Daniel Willinger

Easy collection for more resource conservation

The changeover is intended to make it even easier for Austrians to collect their packaging separately and thus make their personal contribution to climate protection and resource conservation. "We are not only converting the household collection system, but also expanding it and gradually changing from a bring system to a pick-up system, e.g. with the yellow sack, which is collected directly from the house. In addition, we are supporting citizens with our 'Digi-Cycle' app, which will be available in time for the changeover and will provide assistance with the correct separation and collection," says Hauke.

Collection systems in the federal provinces

In Carinthia, Lower Austria, Salzburg and Vienna, all plastic and metal packaging will already be collected in the yellow bin and the yellow bag from 2023. In Styria, Tyrol, Vorarlberg and Burgenland there will be no change in 2023; plastic and metal packaging will continue to be collected separately in the yellow bin or the yellow bag and the blue bin. From 2025, joint collection will follow here as well. In Upper Austria, both collection systems are used in different regions. There will be changes in the districts of Braunau and Rohrbach, where ARA will introduce joint collection of plastic and metal packaging from the house as of 1 January 2023.

What will be collected in the yellow bin from 2023?

  • Plastic bottles (PET bottles, such as mineral water bottles, or other plastic bottles such as detergent and cleaning agent bottles, bottles for personal hygiene products, etc.)
  • Beverage cartons
  • Yoghurt and other cups
  • Trays and trays for fruit, vegetables, takeaways, etc.
  • Foils
  • Packaging for sliced cheese or sausage slices
  • Foil packaging of mineral water bottles
  • In Carinthia Lower Austria, Salzburg, Vienna and parts of Upper Austria: packaging made of metal and aluminium (beverage and food cans, crown caps, pet food cans, etc.)