Garbage is valuable. Its disposal and recycling is a business that is attracting more and more manufacturers to the scene. For the State Waste Association (LAV) this is a worrying trend. “Waste management is developing towards a circular economy”says managing director Thomas Anderer. He fears that fashion chains or electronics stores will establish their own take-back system. This “Horror scenario” would lead to lower utilization of the waste collection centers (ASZ) and subsequently to higher fees for consumers.
One thing is certain: With the introduction of the deposit system for PET and metal packaging in 2025, large quantities will no longer exist. Then empty plastic bottles or cans no longer end up in the trash, but in the supermarket return machines. The State Waste Association is also trying to create options for returning deposits. The problem: “In comparison to retailers, we do not receive any funding for setting up the machines”says the managing director of the subsidiary LAVU, Christian Ehrengruber. The elimination of PET waste means a loss of 250,000 euros for municipal waste management. The EU proposal to reduce food waste by 30 percent by 2030 is also a major challenge. “a huge amount”. In addition, the recycling of plastics and textiles – and this doesn’t just mean old clothes – involves a lot of effort.
However, when it comes to the recycling rate, Upper Austria is well positioned. There are 177 ASZs in the country. There the waste is separated into 80 different types, 90 percent of which is recycled. “Our goal is to collect even more recyclables. It must not be the case that profits are privatized”says LAV chairman Roland Wohlmuth.
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