Austria achieves EU collection quota for used portable batteries in 2019

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Current figures, data, facts on the collection of waste electrical equipment and batteries in Austria
Photo: Electrical Equipment Coordination Office Austria / APA-Fotoservice / Schedl


Oct 16

15:00
2020


from OTS
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Around 133,000 tons of used electrical devices and 2,400 tons of old device batteries collected

Vienna (OTS) – In Austria, around 133,000 tons of waste electrical and electronic equipment and 2,400 tons of old batteries were collected last year. Compared to 2018, this means an increase in the collection mass of 14 percent for EAG and 5 percent for used device batteries.

The current figures, data, facts about the collection of used electrical devices and used device batteries in Austria were published on October 15, 2020 as part of a press conference of the Elektroaltgeräte Koordinierungsstelle Austria GmbH (EAK) together with representatives of the Federal Ministry for Climate Protection (BMK) and the ARGE Austrian Waste Management Associations presented in Vienna.

Challenging collection rates

According to this, Austria was able to meet the collection quota for used device batteries set by the EU at 45 percent of the average mass put on the market over the past three years. The increased collection rate of 65 percent (previously 45 percent) for old electronic devices, which has been in effect since 2019, was only just missed with around 62 percent. “The minimum collection rate of 65 percent for waste electrical and electronic equipment represents an enormous challenge for all EU member states – not just for Austria”, explained DI Christian Holzer, head of the waste management section at the BMK. “Because of the growing market input for electrical and electronic equipment as well as lithium batteries, whose average service life is around six years, it is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve the prescribed collection rates,” continues Holzer. “Further efforts are therefore required, especially when it comes to informing the population, in order to be able to achieve the quota in the future”.

Austria in a European comparison

“In a European comparison, Austria continues to perform very well,” emphasized the managing director of the EAK, Mag. Elisabeth Giehser. For years, Austria has been among the European leaders in collecting services, together with the Scandinavian countries. “Due to the increasing numbers of devices and batteries put on the market, the very ambitious collection requirements of the EU can hardly be met. Even committed neighboring countries are far behind Austria with a WEEE collection rate of around 45 percent (2017/18), ”said Giehser.

Plus when collecting electrical devices – action required when collecting batteries

Compared to 2018, there was an increase of 14 percent in the collection of waste electrical and electronic equipment in 2019. There was only a slight increase of 5 percent for device batteries. However, this is in relation to a simultaneous increase in the mass of portable batteries placed on the market of 5.7 percent.

“In spite of the generally high collecting ethic of the Austrians, used batteries and electrical appliances unfortunately still end up in the residual waste”, regretted Giehser. “This is not only a waste of resources, but also harms health and the environment”. In order to achieve a sustainable change in awareness and behavior among consumers, the EAK, together with its partners, is further intensifying public relations work under the motto “Get batteries out of the residual waste”.

Mail order challenge

“The situation is made more difficult by the increasing share of sales in the mail order business,” said EAK supervisory board chairman KR Ing. Wolfgang Krejcik. 15 to 20 percent of electrical appliances are shipped to Austria from abroad. “Although mail order and online retailers are also obliged to take back and provide information, the websites of the online sales platforms do not contain any or only insufficient information about the return options for disused electrical devices and batteries,” says Krejcik.

In addition to a more efficient return and information practice in mail order and online trading, there is also a need for more transparency and control of the masses of electrical devices and batteries registered by manufacturers and importers. “This is the only way to ensure correct processes and fair market conditions between stationary and online retailing in the future, as well as compliance with the high collection rates,” summarizes Krejcik.

However, he also emphasized that since the EAG-VO came into effect and the EAK was founded 15 years ago, Austria has by far exceeded the prescribed collection rates year after year. “Achieving this was far from being child’s play. “Ultimately, it is important to maintain and develop well-functioning, safe and reliable collection systems, to coordinate the nationwide collection of large amounts collected, to make the collection infrastructure fit for new device and battery technologies and to implement all of this as cost-effectively as possible,” explained the EAK supervisory board chairman.

Praise for efficient collection system in Austria

The President of the ARGE Austrian Waste Management Associations, Mayor LAbg. Anton Kasser, described the Austrian way as “exemplary for the entire EU” and attributes the smoothly functioning collection system to the close cooperation between municipalities and business.

85 percent of the collected amount was collected via the municipal waste material collection centers, recycling yards or manure sites of the associations, cities and municipalities. The remaining 15 percent was collected through retailers or direct collection points from manufacturers.

There is a clear east-west divide in the specific federal states collected amounts of used electrical devices and used device batteries per inhabitant: The per capita collected amounts of old electrical devices fluctuate between 17.27 kg (Vorarlberg) and 7.64 kg (Vienna), that of used device batteries between 0.57 kg and 0.011 kg.

There was agreement on the podium about the main objective: The quantities collected must be consistently increased. Wishes for the future: more precise registrations of the municipalities in the central EDM register, cheaper infrastructure for the municipalities, extended opening times for the collection points and service-oriented, low-threshold pick-up offers to limit the activity of the illegal collection brigades.

“There is a lot to be done to further stimulate the willingness to collect in Austria”, so the speakers’ summary. “Especially when it comes to collecting device batteries, the level of knowledge of Austrians about the correct handling of used batteries and accumulators must be greatly improved together,” explained Giehser.

The EAK manager’s final appeal to the media representatives present: “Old electrical devices and batteries have no place in residual waste, but also in the hands of illegal collectors. Help us to prevent disadvantages for people, the environment and the economy and spread the content of our information materials, which are available for download at www.elektro-ade.at and www.eak-austria.at ”.

Further press information is available for download under the heading “PRESS” on the EAK website: http://www.eak-austria.at

About the electrical equipment coordination office (EAK) The EAK carries out the practical and administrative coordination of the collection of the collected electrical equipment and used device batteries and signs for public relations, data and material flow analyzes as well as reporting to the BMK (Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology) as well as to the European Commission responsible. The EAK is a non-profit company whose owners are made up of representatives of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce and the industry representatives affected by the EAG-VO and the Battery Ordinance.

Source: OTS







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