In the district of Leoben about 12.300 tons of municipal waste were buried without any energy recovery until 2003. As a result, areas were polluted and abandoned. Since 2004 landfill regulations prescribe a pre-treatment of waste before landfilling. The district adopts a multiple approach to support both – recycling and thermal utilisation. Demolition and bulky waste are dismantled and used as a substitute fuel for energy production in the combustion plant of the paper mill in Niklasdorf. The resulting energy is equivalent to the heating value of approx. 4.2 million liters of heating oil per year. Lightweight packaging is sorted and used as a substitute fuel in the cement industry, while tree and shrub cut are crushed and used as structural material in composting plants. The separately collected bio waste from the Waste Management Association Leoben (approx. 3,500 tonnes annually) is processed and treated in an agriculture compost plant and used as fertilizer on farmland.
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Thanks to this new approach in waste management, the volume of the original municipal waste has been reduced to a quarter and substitute almost 5 million liters of heating oil every year. Energy import is reduced, improving wealth in the region. Safety and economic lifetime of landfills has also been improved.