Waste as an Opportunity for the Transport Revolution

19. 10. 2022

An amendment to the Austrian Abfallwirtschaftsgesetz (Waste Management Act) mandates a gradual shift of waste transports to rail beginning in 2023. We at the RCG are getting ready to start!

Waste has a key role to play in the necessary shift of traffic to sustainable rail transport. A majority of waste generated in Austria is suitable for rail transport, such as excavated material, construction and demolition waste, household waste, as well as ash and slag. Rail Cargo Group already transports around 8 million tons of waste by rail. The further potential for rail transport due to the amendment to the Waste Management Act corresponds to approximately a doubling of this volume.

The total amount of waste generated in Austria in 2019 was around 72 million tonnes. This is a huge amount of material, meaning that sustainable rail transport would mean an immediate reduction in CO2, particulate matter and road noise in Austria.

Important Instrument for Achieving the Climate Targets

In Austria, the Waste Management Act regulates how waste is to be reduced, disposed of and recycled. In this way, environmental and climate protection are to be sustainably strengthened and resources conserved. The amendment to the Waste Management Act is now giving the transport transformation a tailwind: Beginning on 1 January 2023, transports of waste with a total weight of more than ten tonnes and a transport distance of more than 300 km must be made by rail or other means of transport with equivalent or lower pollutant or greenhouse gas potential (e.g., propulsion by fuel cell or electric motor). This distance will be reduced to 200 km in 2024 and 100 km in 2026. The amendment therefore affects all companies that want to transport waste or have waste transported in Austria. The law allows for a few exceptions – for example, if the railways cannot provide the corresponding capacities. This shift is a significant motivating factor for achieving Austria’s climate targets.

Waste Transports: Our Daily Business

By 1 December 2022, a digital query platform is to be set up for companies to submit their queries and obtain offers from railway companies. At RCG, we are already expanding our waste transport capacities and are preparing to take on more orders. Waste transports are already an integral part of our daily business. After all, we have been handling orders for companies such as EVN Wärmekraftwerke, FCC Austria Abfall Service or Energie AG in compliance with Waste Management Act for many years. With the “Environmental Solutions” segment, we have a central point of contact with clearly defined contact persons and processes for the organization and handling of waste transports. This enables us to offer customers the opportunity to approach us now in order to jointly develop logistics concepts for their specific needs. After all, for waste transports that fall under the Waste Management Act obligation, it is possible at any time to make an agreement with the railroad to request offers for waste transports in rail freight traffic, even outside the BMK digital platform.