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Austria

Waste (Austria)

Why should we care about this issue

Topic
Waste Waste
more info
Environment Agency Austria
Organisation name
Environment Agency Austria
Reporting country
Austria
Organisation website
Organisation website
Contact link
Contact link
Last updated
21 Dec 2010
Content license
CC By 2.5
Content provider
Environment Agency Austria
Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 13 Apr 2011 Feed synced: 21 Dec 2010 original

Figures

Austria cares about waste because the overall impact of waste must be minimized by effective waste management.

The consumption of primary materials may be decreased by waste prevention measures and by an efficient, environmentfriendly waste recovery. Thus, the environmental and health impacts of the material system Austria as well as the dependence on material imports can be reduced. Proper waste management is indispensable for sustainable development.

 

Links & References

The state and impacts

Topic
Waste Waste
more info
Environment Agency Austria
Organisation name
Environment Agency Austria
Reporting country
Austria
Organisation website
Organisation website
Contact link
Contact link
Last updated
21 Dec 2010
Content license
CC By 2.5
Content provider
Environment Agency Austria
Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 13 Apr 2011 Feed synced: 21 Dec 2010 original

Figures

Figure 3: First treatment step of waste from households and similar establishments 1999-2004 (Umweltbundesamt 2009b)

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Data source
http://www.umweltbundesamt.at/uploads/pics/waste_fig3_01.jpg
Figure 3: First treatment step of waste from households and similar establishments 1999-2004 (Umweltbundesamt 2009b)
Fullscreen image Original link

Figure 2: Generation of waste from households and similar establishments in Austria (Umweltbundesamt 2009b)

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Data source
http://www.umweltbundesamt.at/uploads/pics/waste_fig2_02.jpg
Figure 2: Generation of waste from households and similar establishments in Austria (Umweltbundesamt 2009b)
Fullscreen image Original link

Figure 1: Total waste arisings in Austria (Lebensministerium 2001 and 2006, Umweltbundesamt 2009b)

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Data source
http://www.umweltbundesamt.at/uploads/pics/waste_fig1_02.jpg
Figure 1: Total waste arisings in Austria (Lebensministerium 2001 and 2006, Umweltbundesamt 2009b)
Fullscreen image Original link

In the nine years from 1999 to 2008, total waste arisings increased from 48.6 million tonnes to 56.3 million tonnes (16%) (see Figure 1). Part of the increase can be explained by the higher generation of secondary waste due to increased waste treatment activities. Therefore, 2 million tonnes of the waste generated in 2008 can be allocated to secondary waste. The arisings of excavated soils by far the biggest waste fraction increased from 20 to 25.6 million tonnes.

From 1999 to 2008, the arisings of waste from households and similar establishments increased from 3.1 million tonnes in 1999 to 3.8 million tonnes in 2008 (22%). However, due to an increase in the separate collection of waste, residual household waste arisings increased only by 5% (see Figure 2):

With the treatment of household waste, a substantial shift from landfilling to thermal treatment took place (see Figure 3).

Links & References

The key drivers and pressures

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 13 Apr 2011 Feed synced: 21 Dec 2010 original

Figures

Figure 5: Metal ore imports to the Austrian economy (Petrovic, 2008)

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Data source
http://www.umweltbundesamt.at/uploads/pics/waste_fig5_02.jpg
Figure 5: Metal ore imports to the Austrian economy (Petrovic, 2008)
Fullscreen image Original link

Figure 4: Increase in Austrian waste arisings, GDP and population from 1999 to 2008 and decrease of waste management related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 1999 to 2007 (Lebensministerium 2001, 2009; Umweltbundesamt 2009a, b; Statistik Austria, 2009a, b).

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Data source
http://www.umweltbundesamt.at/uploads/pics/waste_fig4_02.jpg
Figure 4: Increase in Austrian waste arisings, GDP and population from 1999 to 2008 and decrease of waste management related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 1999 to 2007 (Lebensministerium 2001, 2009; Umweltbundesamt 2009a, b; Statistik Austria, 2009a, b).
Fullscreen image Original link

The main drivers for the selection of waste treatment paths, as shown in Figure 3, were policy drivers such as the ordinances on packaging waste and on biodegradable waste in combination with extensive information and a public awareness programme. Since 2004, the landfill ordinance requires the pretreatment of reactive waste prior to landfilling. Therefore, household waste is incinerated or pretreated in a mechanical biological treatment plant in order to reduce its total organic content. Because of the pretreatment, emissions of greenhouse gases were reduced considerably.

 

The most important drivers for waste generation are economic and social drivers. In Figure 4 the growth of total waste generation and of household waste arisings in the period 1999 to 2008 is compared to real GDP growth and population growth. Household waste growth seems to be stronger coupled to economic growth rather than total waste growth is. Household waste generation increases much faster than the population. It can be concluded that the main driving force for household waste arising is the affluence of the population. Also changing lifestyles, such as the trend towards single households, can be identified as important social drivers for household waste generation.

One key driver for the increased waste generation was the increased material consumption (caused by production and private consumption). According to (Petrovic, 2008) the Austrian DMC (domestic material consumption) increased from 160 million tons to 171 million tons (7%) from 1998 to 2006. The increase is much lower than the growth of real GDP in this period of 20% (Statistik Austria, 2009a). The total material imports, however, increased from 68 to 87 million tonnes (28%), the metal ore imports by 50% (see Figure 5), and the material exports from 33 to 54 million tonnes (67%) (Petrovic, 2008).

 

The main pressures induced by waste are greenhouse gas emissions and dissipation of pollutants.

 

Overall greenhouse gas emissions from waste management and treatment activities during the year 2007 amounted to 2,2 million tonnes CO2equivalent. Thus waste management was responsible for about 2.5% of total greenhouse gas emissions in Austria in 2007. In 2007, greenhouse gas emissions from the waste sector were 40.4% below the level of the base year 1990 and 19.4% below the level of 1999 (see Figure 4) (Umweltbundesamt, 2009a).

 

Table 1 shows the lead, cadmium and mercury flows of the Austrian economy for 2005:

  • only a small amount of Austria's heavy metal emissions are caused by the waste management sector;
  • the main path of pollutants from the waste management sector to the environment is by use of compost;
  • in absolute figures, the emissions of lead are the highest, while compared with the system input, mercury emissions are the highest (50% of the input) followed by cadmium (8%) and lead (2% of the input respectively).

 

Emissions into air

Emissions into water

Emissions to soil

 

 Total input into economy

from total Austria

from the waste management sector

from total Austria

from the waste management sector

From hunting, sport shooting, fertilising and mining

from waste products (compost)

Lead (Pb)

44,000

48

0.3

15

0.17

960

20

Cadmium (Cd)

145

3

0.01

0.6

0.02

8

0.25

Mercury (Hg)

5.6

1.6

0.06

0.34

0.003

0.9

0.06

Links & References

The 2020 outlook

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 13 Apr 2011 Feed synced: 21 Dec 2010 original

According to intermediate results from an ongoing study on the generation and treatment of organic carbon containing waste in 2020, the generation of these waste streams, representing 25% by mass of all Austrian waste flows, will rise by about 20% compared to 2008. Thermal treatment will increase by 24%, and recycling by about 30%. Landfilling will recede drastically.

 

In future, more technical equipment containing a wide variety of pollutants will find its way into the waste bin. Import dependence for scarce materials and competition on the availability of such materials will increase, as well as the imports of final products with unknown composition.

Links & References

Existing and planned responses

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 13 Apr 2011 Feed synced: 21 Dec 2010 original

Soil legislation. It should be noted that within the scope of this chapter only an overview can be made. (see notably NORER Roland Bodenschutzrecht im Kontext der europischen Bodenschutzstrategie, 2009) Soil protection is understood to be crosscutting issue of multiple pieces of legislation both at the federal level and at the level of the nine provinces. According to the constitution, the federation has no overall power on soil issues except on forests and therefore no specific regulation on soil protection exists at a federal level.

 

Direct regulation.

  • Agricultural soils are protected by the Soil Protection Acts of the Austrian Federal Provinces. Five out of nine provinces have passed Soil Protection Acts (Bodenschutzgesetze), which are mainly targeted at the maintenance of productivity of agricultural soils.
  • Forest soils are protected by the Forest Act (Forstgesetz).
  • The Federal Law for Financing the Remediation of Contaminated Sites regulates the financing of remediation measures at historically contaminated sites and furthermore the identification and assessment of such sites.

Indirect regulation. A large range of other regulations and instruments address soil protection directly and indirectly. These are usually driven by implementation of EU policy or were adapted to comply with EU legislation and include, inter alia the Compost Ordinance, the Fertilizer Ordinance, the Pesticides Act, the Act on Ambient Air Quality, the Air Pollution Control Act, the Water Act, the spatial planning acts of the Federal Provinces, the Federal Law and corresponding provincial laws on Waste Management, the Federal Law on the Use of Chemicals, the federal and provincial laws on environmental liability, and the Federal Trade Regulations.

 

National objectives and targets for soil conservation have been established in the following legal instruments:

  • Sewage Sludge and Waste Compost Ordinances of the Federal Provinces;
  • Soil Protection Protocol of the Alpine Convention that entered into force in December 2002;
  • Austrian Strategy for Sustainable Development: Protection of Environmental Media and Climate Protection.

More details can be found in the soil chapter of the Austria's State of the Environment Report (Umweltbundesamt, 2004; 2007a).

 

Soil policy targets. Several targets for soil conservation have been established at various administrative levels. Overall, soil protection was declared a national goal by the Federal Constitutional Law on Comprehensive Environmental Protection (Federal Legal Gazette No 491/1984). This was recognized in the Austrian Strategy for Sustainable Development (BMLFUW 2002) and translated into several soil related quality targets monitored by means of indicators (BMLFUW 2007). These targets include, in particular:

  • the prevention of further soil sealing;
  • the maintenance of soil fertility through erosion protection measures and organic farming;
  • the prevention of the input of toxic substances (heavy metals, organic pollutants) into the ecosystems and the food chain; and
  • the limitation of risks posed by landfills by means of the mandatory treatment of waste.

As an example, a quantitative target was established to reduce the annual amount of sealed soils to 10% of the rate observed in 2002 of 10 ha/day by 2010.

 

Specific targets have also been established in the framework of the Soil Protection Protocol of the Alpine Convention ratified by Austria which entered into force in December 2002. In this protocol, general qualitative and quantitative targets were established.

 

Finally, though soil protection is mainly determined at the provincial level, several standards have also been established at a national level. Although not binding, they are used as the basis for national soil assessments and rehabilitation obligations. The standards cover, for example, the procedures for the evaluation of the content of certain elements, as well as trigger values for intervention and action (NORM 2000 2004).

 

Additional instruments (incentives). Additional instruments have been established in the framework of the agrienvironmental programme (PUL) and the national law for the remediation of contaminated sites (Altlastensanierungsgesetz).

 

Funding of explicit erosion control measures such as soil cover in vineyards and orchards or conservation tillage on farmland and for implicit measures for example, organic farming, cover crops or maintenance of small agricultural structures, is available to farmers through the Austrian rural development program via PUL. The results of the 2008 survey reveal that erosion mitigation measures increased considerably from 2002 to 2006. Agricultural land subject to erosion mitigation measures increased from 15,000 hectare in 2002 to 180,000 hectare in 2006. In terms of funding, 17% of the PUL budget for 20022006 was spent on erosion and flood mitigation, corresponding to 744 million (BMLFUW 2008c).

 

According to the Cross Compliance Regulation (EU Ordinance No 73/2009) EU farmers are obliged to conserve their soils to a good agricultural and ecological status. In Annex III the requirements are defined, for example, for erosion protection and conservation of soil organic matter. Compliance with these requirements is a prerequisite for direct support schemes under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). These requirements are implemented by the Austrian ordinance on an Integrated Administration and Control System (InvekosVo BGBl. Nr. 31/08).

 

Public support for the management of remediation activities monitoring, registration and cleanup of contaminated sites is available to local and regional authorities, private enterprises and private owners through a special fund. The fund is financed by the revenues from a tax on waste management and amounted to 60 million in 2009. The total amount of funding in the period 19902009 was 970 million. In 47% of all projects, the applicant for funding was a community. Funding is mainly provided for sites were the polluter could not be identified or made liable, including war induced contamination.

Links & References

The decrease of greenhouse gas emissions from the waste management sector is a result of the following policies:

  • In 1995, the separate collection of biogenic waste was introduced all over Austria; in 2008, about 105 kg/capita of biogenic waste were collected separately (Umweltbundesamt, 2009b);
  • High development of separate collection of paper (84 kg/capita);
  • The Act on the Remediation of Contaminated Sites (ALSAG) in 1989 introduced a levy on landfilled waste which on the one hand finances the remediation or securing of contaminated sites and on the other hand provides a financial incentive for treating and recycling waste instead of landfilling it;
  • Ban on landfilling reactive waste, which entered into force in 2004 (several exemptions until the end of 2008);
  • Methane recovery systems installed at many landfill sites since the end of the 1990s.

All municipal waste incineration plants feature energy recovery for district heating. Different waste types (including waste wood) are used to replace fuels in industry. This helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 

In order to minimise emissions and dissipation of pollutants, requirements for environmentally sound thermal treatment as well as for landfilling are prescribed in ordinances. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management published a guideline for the mechanical biological treatment. Additionally, the Waste Treatment Obligation Ordinance as well as the Federal Waste Management Plan 2006 contain provisions on the proper treatment for specific waste streams. The environmental and health impacts are to be minimised by these provisions.


In order to further promote the prevention and recovery of waste, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management introduced a waste prevention and recycling strategy in 2006. The implementation projects include

  • the introduction of a building certification and building material documentation scheme (building pass);
  • the improvement of a quality assurance scheme for recycled building materials;
  • green public purchasing regulations;
  • standards for the use of waste as industrial fuel limiting pollutant inputs;
  • market penetration of ecoservices;
  • identification of the original products causing the pollutants in household waste.

As next steps, a waste prevention programme 2011 (in line with the Waste Framework Directive 2008/98/EC) and an ecoefficiency and resource action plan are being developed.

Links & References

Disclaimer

The country assessments are the sole responsibility of the EEA member and cooperating countries supported by the EEA through guidance, translation and editing.

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