Blue + Yellow = Green | Let’s Talk Trash

Sorting out recyclables just got a little easier in Vienna, thanks to an initiative that lets people chuck plastic and metal into the same container.

We are dogged sorters of trash here in Austria, not least because it’s the law. This is of course good for the environment but, we must admit, can take up quite a lot of space: In any Vienna home, dusty assemblages of plastic, metal, glass, paper, bio and general rubbish are classic fixtures. And at collection sites around town, all those big containers cover a fair expanse.

But city officials have taken pity: Over the next six months, the blue (metal) and yellow (plastic and drink boxes) containers are being merged.

The reasons are primarily logistical. Now all 6,500 city collection sites will have space for the fused containers saving some 80,000 km transportation miles. The mixed contents will be transported to Graz for sorting (using magnets and other technology) before travelling on to separate facilities elsewhere in Styria and in Carinthia for recycling.

All told, some 350,000 tons of trash are collected in Vienna each year, according to the city’s MA 48 –  5,300 tons of plastic and some 2,300 tons of cans and metal. These numbers are likely to increase with the ease of correct disposal, the city says: During a pilot project in the 15th district, up to 15% more was collected when the merged containers were available. More collected for less hassle?  Sometimes easier can actually be better.


Naomi Hunt
Naomi Hunt is a managing editor at Metropole, with roots in the U.S. and Malaysia that have long been buried under Austrian soil. She previously served as a program manager at the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID) and was a Senior Press Freedom Adviser at the International Press Institute (IPI).

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