Graz, July 15 2020 - Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) working in the reuse sector in Austria have to comply with a series of obligations associated with the collection and handling of the reused goods. Despite the fact that “prepare for reuse” activities and targets are strongly anchored in Austrian Waste Management Act since 2010, understanding of the legal framework is often limited.
The webinar, organized recently by the Academy for Circular Economy and Waste Prevention, offered participants an opportunity to engage with leading waste experts in the region of Styria. It aimed at sharing practical insights into obligations that reuse enterprises have to fulfill in practice. Among the guest speakers was Ingrid Winter, Head of Department for Waste and Resource Management of the Provincial Government of Styria and one of the SUBTRACT project partners.
Ingrid Winter gave a comprehensive overview over the framework regarding waste and preparing for reuse in Austria, explaining what is classified as waste and how reuse goods are defined in this context.
“(Preparing for) Reuse has been given priority under the Austrian Waste Management Act (AWG 2002), as it is placed high in the waste hierarchy, right after waste prevention. Therefore, it should be considered as a requirement”, said Ingrid Winter during the webinar. She explained that in practice, however, the collection facilities are often not yet sufficiently prepared for reuse. In order to facilitate the collection process of the reused goods the so-called reuse corners have been set up at several waste collection centres in Styria.
In the second part of the webinar Agnes Schmidhofer, Department for Waste Management, Water and Energy Law at the Directorate 13 of the Provincial Government of Styria, talked about the legal requirements for reuse companies from the public authority's point of view. This included a discussion about the procedure for (waste management) plant approval. “This process is relatively complex and not always obvious”, said Ms. Schmidhofer.
“Preparation for reuse is clearly defined within the Austrian Waste Management Act [AWG 2002] and it requires further approvals and obligations”, she added. This includes, for instance, record keeping, registration and reporting obligations as well as a permit released by the governor for different types of waste and waste treatment methods.
Agnes Schmidhofer pointed out that efforts are currently being made by the federal states in Austria to exempt from the formal permit procedures for different types of waste management facilities. This should also concern enterprises and organizations working in the reuse sector.
The Academy for Circular Economy and Waste Prevention is a new cooperation of ARGE Waste Prevention, Reuse and Repair Network Austria (RepaNet) and Austrian Waste Consulting Association (VABÖ).