Waste - Drivers & Pressures

What are the related drivers and pressures?

The main drivers for the selection of waste treatment paths, as shown in Figure 3, were policy drivers such as the ordinances on packaging waste and on biodegradable waste in combination with extensive information and a public awareness programme. Since 2004, the landfill ordinance requires the pre-treatment of reactive waste prior to landfilling. Therefore, household waste is incinerated or pre-treated in a mechanical biological treatment plant in order to reduce its total organic content. Because of the pre-treatment, emissions of greenhouse gases were reduced considerably.


The most important drivers for waste generation are economic and social drivers. In Figure 4 the growth of total waste generation and of household waste arisings in the period 1999 to 2008 is compared to real GDP growth and population growth. Household waste growth seems to be stronger coupled to economic growth rather than total waste growth is. Household waste generation increases much faster than the population. It can be concluded that the main driving force for household waste arising is the affluence of the population. Also changing lifestyles, such as the trend towards single households, can be identified as important social drivers for household waste generation.

Figure 4: Increase in Austrian waste arisings, GDP and population from 1999 to 2008 and decrease of waste management related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 1999 to 2007 (Lebensministerium 2001, 2009; Umweltbundesamt 2009a, b; Statistik Austria, 2009a, b).
Figure 5: Metal ore imports to the Austrian economy (Petrovic, 2008)

Table 1: Flows of lead, cadmium and mercury in/from the Austrian economy in 2005 in tonnes (Umweltbundesamt and TU-Wien 2009)

  Emissions into air Emissions into water Emissions to soil
   Total input into economy from total Austria from the waste management sector from total Austria from the waste management sector From hunting, sport shooting, fertilising and mining from waste products (compost)
Lead (Pb) 44,000 48 0.3 15 0.17 960 20
Cadmium (Cd) 145 3 0.01 0.6 0.02 8 0.25
Mercury (Hg) 5.6 1.6 0.06 0.34 0.003 0.9 0.06