What Happens to Collected Waste?

Collected packaging waste is both recyclable and valuable, and can be processed to create new products.

Packages of plastic bottles for recycling
Pastic bottles collected for recycling, photo BMLRT / Alexander Haiden


Packaging made of paper, cardboard, paperboard and corrugated cardboard are typical examples of ecologically oriented and closed-loop recycling management systems, since these materials are recycled to form new paper-based products. In Austria, a high proportion of packaging is made out of recycled paper, with some types of packaging being almost entirely manufactured from recycled paper.


By glass we mean packaging glass, such as bottles, jars, and other hollow glass containers, as these are the only types of glass that are suitable for recycling. In addition, white glass must always be separated from coloured glass, and any recycled glass can be used to form new glass packaging without any loss of quality.

Plastic Packaging

After being sorted, the majority of the collected plastic packaging materials are recycled and used to make new products, for instance flower-pots, piping, canisters, buckets, etc. Non-recyclable material is used as fuel, replacing fossil fuels.

Metal Packaging

The collected metal packaging materials, tins, scrap metal, and iron are crushed, automatically sorted, and subsequently used in the Austrian steel and aluminium industry as secondary raw materials.

Biodegradable Waste

The Federal Ministry recommends that biodegradable waste be used for composting in your own garden, if possible. Otherwise, the organic waste collected in bio-waste containers is recycled to high-quality compost in composting facilities. As an alternative, biodegradable waste is used in biogas plants, where, among other things, biogas is produced that can be used for heating or electricity.

Hazardous Waste

There are clearly defined disposal rules for hazardous waste, which must meet high environmental standards. The majority of hazardous waste is treated using special incineration methods.