Case study: is „the catch-all-plastics bin“ useful in unlocking the hidden resource potential in the residual waste collection system?

Lukas Josef Kranzinger, Kerstin Schopf, Elisabeth Punesch, Roland Pomberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Austria’s performance in the collection of separated waste is adequate. However, the residual waste still contains substantial amounts of recyclable materials – for example, plastics, paper and board, glass and composite packaging. Plastics (lightweight packaging and similar non-packaging materials) are detected at an average mass content of 13% in residual waste. Despite this huge potential, only 3% of the total amount of residual waste (1,687,000 t y−1) is recycled. This implies that most of the recyclable materials contained in the residual waste are destined for thermal recovery and are lost for recycling. This pilot project, commissioned by the Land of Lower Austria, applied a holistic approach, unique in Europe, to the Lower Austrian waste management system. It aims to transfer excess quantities of plastic packaging and non-packaging recyclables from the residual waste system to the separately collected waste system by introducing a so-called ‘catch-all-plastics bin’. A quantity flow model was constructed and the results showed a realistic increase in the amount of plastics collected of 33.9 wt%. This equals a calculated excess quantity of 19,638 t y−1. The increased plastics collection resulted in a positive impact on the climate footprint (CO2 equivalent) in line with the targets of EU Directive 94/62/EG (Circular Economy Package) and its Amendments. The new collection system involves only moderate additional costs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-162
Number of pages8
JournalWaste management & research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017

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