Waste Management: Solving the problem of waste disposal is one of the primary tasks of Austrian Environmental Protection. Since the amount of waste produced in Austria has been growing steadily since 1950, an integrated and comprehensive waste management system was developed from Austria's previous waste disposal system. The primary goal of waste management is the quantitative and qualitative reduction of waste, i.e. to limit waste to a minimum and to avoid using toxic materials. The goal is also to re-use waste (Recycling, as well as to produce energy from it). At present, waste may be dumped only after pre-treatment. Through these measures, a reduction of waste in Austria was achieved for the first time in 1993. While in 1991 more than 2 mio. tons of household waste were produced, the amount of residual waste was less than 1.4 mio. tons in 1996. In the same period, Austria was able to reduce the number of waste dumps from 145 to 60. The main factors in this improvement were the separate collection of paper, cardboard, glass, metals and plastic (packaging) as well as compost waste. In 1996 a total of 46.5 mio. tons of waste were produced in Austria, more than half of which was construction waste (excavated material and demolition waste) as well as construction site waste. Hazardous waste amounted to 1.6 mio. tons, and miscellaneous non-hazardous waste totalled 14.5 mio. tons.
Waste management has also become an economic sector in Austria; revenues in this industry were ATS 12 bio. in 1993, and once the Packaging Regulation went into effect in 1994 they rose to ATS 14.5 bio. The Austrian waste disposal industry (including municipal operations) employs more than 20,000 people in Austria, more than half of whom work in commercial enterprises.
Further reading: Federal Ministry of Environmental Affairs, Youth and the Family (ed.), Bundesabfallwirtschaftsplan 1998 (ed. every 3 years, on basis of Waste Management Act 1990).