The most important legislation in Austria adressing construction and demolition waste is the Austrian Recycling Building Materials Ordinance.
The Austrian Recycling Building Materials Ordinance has been published in in 2015 and revised in 2016. The main objective of this ordinance is to promote the recycling of construction and demolition waste by ensuring a high quality of waste generated during construction and demolition activities. It shall contribute to increased materials efficiency and circular economy.
In particular, the ordinance applies to construction and demolition activities, the production and use of recycled materials and certain recycling materials, for which the waste status, pursuant to the Austrian Waste Management Act 2002, ends.
In general, the ordinance sets out requirements to be fulfilled during the construction and demolition procedure. Prior to the demolition activities, an audit of on-site conditions including the presence of reusable components, pollutants and contaminants has to be carried out. According to the Recycling Building Materials Ordinance, the evaluation has to be based on the Austrian Standard ÖNORM B 3151 “Dismantling of buildings as a standard method for demolition”. It contains the appropriate process chart, which includes the essential steps from the predemolition audit to the mechanical deconstruction.
Higher administrative costs for citizens and companies are offset by more circularity in the use of resources and secondary raw materials. Detailed cost-impact assessment of the competent ministry see: https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/Dokumente/Begut/BEGUT_COO_2026_100_2_1053598/COO_2026_100_2_1053656.pdf
Evidence of success
Environmental benefits are ressource efficency, reduction of landfill volume compared to the variant with less recycling, increase of the volume of reused waste. Economic benefits are a high quality of waste from construction and demolition activities in order to enhance the recycling of such waste. Ca. 8,6 mio. tons of recycling building materials were produced in Austria in 2019.
Potential for learning or transfer
Especially with regard to the detailed presentation of the cost-impact assessment, this regulation can be a good example for other regions. In its practical implications, it is a very valuable tool for improved implementation of the circular economy in the building sector, as it provides legal certainty and increases confidence in the quality of recycled building materials.
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