Waste Collection and Handling : Ukraine war: Fuel prices drive up costs for waste disposal

Worker of urban municipal recycling garbage collector truck loading waste and trash bin
© Kadmy - stock.adobe.com

The massive price increases of petrol and diesel are a cause of concern for the waste and resource management industry. This is because, as part of the critical infrastructure, it is not possible for private waste management companies to simply cease operations or pass on the prices to customers such as municipalities and entrepreneurs at short notice. Instead, the rising costs will be borne by the companies themselves for the time being. In the long run, however, the Association of Austrian Waste Management Companies (VOEB) warns, this is not sustainable. The enormous fuel prices are driving up the costs for waste disposal and will lead in the foreseeable future to the fact that disposal fees will have to be adjusted or individual disposal contracts can no longer be provided.

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"The situation is dramatic," confirms Gabriele Jüly, President of the VOEB. "Against the background that further sanction measures against Russia are currently being discussed and raw material deliveries, as well as imports, could be restricted, further exponential cost increases in the energy sector are to be expected. This development affects our waste disposal contracts with municipalities and companies. This is because the calculation parameters on which the agreed disposal prices were based are now obsolete."

Safeguarding services of general interest

In administrative law, services of general interest are understood to mean all services in the provision of which there is a general public interest. This also applies to waste disposal, which is of particular importance. For this reason, too, voices are growing louder calling for rapid measures to relieve the burden on the sector. Numerous sectors of the economy are suffering from high fuel costs, and there are already some proposals on the table on how to cushion the prices. Jüly: "We take our task very seriously and do everything we can to keep our business going. But if there is no relief, we will have to adjust the disposal fees given the increased diesel costs. Our industry has continued to operate seamlessly during the last two years of the pandemic and we, therefore, hope that our customers and partners will be understanding and supportive of the fuel price increases."