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Austria leads Europe for highest recycling rates

16. May 2013

According to a recent report of the European Environment Agency (EEA) Austria recycled the largest proportion of municipal waste in Europe in 2010. The major contribution lies in the recycling of packaging.

The report of the EEA looks at the management of municipal solid waste, mainly consisting of household waste, in 32 European countries. Austria recycled 63 % of municipal solid waste, followed by Germany (62 %), Belgium (58 %), the Netherlands (51 %) and Switzerland (51%). The recycling percentage in Denmark is 42 % - 43 %.

The major contribution in Austria lies in the recycling of packaging. Today, 20 years after the ratification of the regulation on packaging, the aim of ARA (Altstoff Recycling Austria AG, Austria’s leading compliance system) - to close the packaging cycle - is more important than ever.
This applies also for packaging made of plastic materials. In the previous two decades more than 3 million tons of plastic packaging have been collected from private households and industry. 110 million gigajoule of primary energy was saved. That equals to an import of crude oil in the extent of 59.000 railcars, says engineer Knausz of the ARA.

A special concern has been the recycling of PET-drinking bottles in the best possible way. In 2004 the Austrian beverage industry committed itself to either refill or recycle 80% of all beverage packaging. For this purpose the “PET to PET facility” of ARA was installed. It was build in 2007 and has since then been a show model. It works with the globally most up to date techniques and reworks used PET-containers into recyclate, a material for the production of new containers.