Austria to add €0.25 deposit to price of cans and plastic bottles

The Austrian government has announced that in future a €0.25 deposit will be added to all plastic bottles and aluminium cans, which will be reimbursed on return of the items.

Austria to add €0.25 deposit to price of cans and plastic bottles
Cans and plastic bottles will be returnable for a 25-cent deposit in Austria (Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash)

Austria has announced a 25-cent deposit will be levied on plastic bottles and aluminium cans, according to the Climate Protection Ministry.

From 2025, consumers will be able to return the items to any seller of these products and get €0.25 back on the price they paid.

“Austria is getting a deposit system. This way, we protect our nature and ensure that plastic bottles and cans are recycled properly”, Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) said.

READ ALSO: How to dispose of unwanted furniture or whitegoods in Vienna legally

The basic introduction of a deposit scheme on plastic bottles and cans was already decided on when the Waste Management Act (AWG) was amended last year. Following the initial announcement the details – particularly the amount of the deposit – had to be worked out between manufacturers, retailers and the Ministry of the Environment.

In the end, a deposit of 25 cents on all plastic bottles from 100ml up to three litres and all aluminium cans was agreed upon. Anyone who buys a disposable bottle or can will pay the amount as a deposit.

The government explained that this money is paid back when the container is returned. Importantly the containers can be returned anywhere that sells them, so consumers don’t have to take them back to the exact shop where they bought them.

“You can return items anywhere you can shop. This is a good and practical system that everyone involved can easily implement”, Gewessler said.

“In this way, we ensure that the beverage containers do not end up in nature. And they can be recycled in the best possible way afterwards because they are collected by type”, according to the ministry.

READ ALSO: Why Austria is lagging behind its EU climate targets

Milk products and mixed milk drinks are excluded for hygienic reasons.

In principle, the deposit can be returned at any shop that offers related products. However, there are exceptions for small shops, which only need to take back the sizes they actually sell. For example, if a small traffic shop only sells cans, they do not need to take back large bottles.

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EU court rejects Austria case against Hungary nuclear plant

The EU's second highest court on Wednesday rejected a complaint by Austria against a European Commission decision to approve the expansion of a nuclear plant in neighbouring Hungary with Russian aid.

EU court rejects Austria case against Hungary nuclear plant

Staunchly anti-nuclear Austria lodged the legal complaint in 2018 after the European Union’s executive arm allowed the expansion of the Paks nuclear plant outside the Hungarian capital Budapest with a 10-billion-euro ($12.4 billion) Russian loan.

The plant is Hungary’s only nuclear facility and supplies around 40 percent of its electricity needs.

In its decision the commission judged that the project met EU rules on state aid, but Austria disputed this.

The General Court of the EU ruled Wednesday that “member states are free to determine the composition of their own energy mix and that the Commission cannot require that state financing be allocated to alternative energy sources.”

READ ALSO: Why is Austria so anti nuclear power? 

Hungary aims to have two new reactors enter service by 2030, more than doubling the plant’s current capacity with the 12.5-billion-euro construction. The Paks plant was built with Soviet-era technology in the 1980s during Hungary’s communist period. 

The construction of two new reactors is part of a 2014 deal struck between Hungary’s right-wing Prime Minister Victor Orban and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The work is carried out by Moscow’s state-owned nuclear agency Rosatom.

The details of the deal have been classified for 30 years for “national security reasons” with critics alleging this could conceal corruption.

READ ALSO: Reader question: What are the chances of blackouts in Austria this winter?

Since the late 1970s, Austria has been fiercely anti-nuclear, starting with an unprecedented vote by its population that prevented the country’s only plant from providing a watt of power.

Last month, the Alpine EU member filed a complaint with the European Court of Justice over the bloc’s decision to label nuclear power as green.

In 2020, the top EU court threw out an appeal by Austria to find British government subsidies for the nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in breach of the bloc’s state aid rules.