Yellow sack and yellow bin can now do more: New recycling collection system brings regional increase in collection of over 20%

Since the beginning of 2023, the collection of lightweight packaging has been standardized. In addition, metal packaging began to be collected in the yellow bag or yellow garbage can as standard. Lower Austria, Carinthia, Salzburg and partly Upper Austria have practically completed the changeover. The remaining associations and federal states have until the end of 2024 to adapt. From 2025, joint collection of all lightweight and metal packaging will be mandatory.

This change means that everywhere, in addition to plastic bottles, cups, trays, film and other plastic packaging as well as metal packaging can and should be collected in the yellow bag and yellow garbage can. The aim is to help consumers to collect more plastic packaging in particular and thus to achieve the EU recycling quota for plastics in the future, which is an important milestone for climate and environmental protection.

Interzero is responsible for more than 10 regions in Austria, and thus also for the design of the collection in some conversion regions. Previous data from 2023 already show positive effects. In Carinthia and Lower Austria in particular, where previously only plastic bottles were collected in some cases with the LVP collection, there has been a significant increase. A pattern can be discerned here. In the regions that have already collected all lightweight and metal packaging separately, the change (all LVP and metals together) generally has only a slight positive effect. Very positive stands out such interzero regions Horn with an increase of about 20%. In collection regions where only plastic bottles were previously collected separately or also together with metals, a significant increase can generally be seen in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the first quarter of 2022. In the Interzero regions of Klagenfurt City, an increase of 16% was achieved, and in St. Pölten City, an increase of 53% in the amount collected was even achieved.

Wilhelm Kleer at Interzero, who is responsible for the collection, sorting and recycling of packaging, points out in this context that higher recycling rates cannot be achieved only by collecting plastic and metal packaging together. It is equally important to focus on well-recyclable packaging along the entire process – from production to collection and sorting to recycling of packaging and plastic packaging in particular.

In the future, the focus in optimizing the collection of lightweight and metal packaging will therefore be on further measures for simple and easy access to collection, as well as on measures that help to collect primarily well-recyclable packaging with the yellow garbage can or the yellow bag. Interzero is convinced that it will also be able to master this sensible and necessary task together with the very committed employees of the waste associations.