Association of municipalities calls for rapid clarification of the garbage cartel
Posted On March 19, 2021
After the house searches by the Federal Competition Authority (BWB) of over 20 waste disposal companies, the President of the Association of Municipalities, Alfred Riedl, calls for a quick and complete clarification. The association of municipalities does not want to comment on any further details at the moment, because many questions are still open, according to a spokesman for the APA on Friday. The alleged cartel is likely to affect mainly smaller communities and their citizens. Nobody can yet estimate whether and how much the garbage fees might have been too high.
According to the Federal Coordinator ARGE of Austrian Waste Management Associations, Johann Mayr, the 35 largest cities in Austria do their own waste management, in Vienna for example MA48. You are therefore only marginally affected by the alleged agreements. Small municipalities, on the other hand, use private service providers or organize themselves supra-regionally, such as the 179 municipalities that have formed the Burgenland Garbage Association with their own landfill in Oberpullendorf.
The households of those municipalities and waste management associations that have outsourced waste collection to external companies could be affected by the alleged price fixing. A total of 23 companies across Austria are suspected of having driven up garbage fees through prohibited agreements. The municipalities pass on the costs of waste disposal to their citizens, so it would not have been harmed to the municipalities themselves, but to the households that have to pay the garbage fees.
The garbage fees in Austria amount to around 800 to 900 million euros annually, but are very different from municipality to municipality. According to Mayr, the garbage fees are lowest in Burgenland at 96 euros per year per household, but they can also amount to up to 350 euros elsewhere. One can only speculate about possible damage at the moment, said Mayr in an APA conversation. At the moment there are only investigations, it will take some time until a possible judgment by the cartel court and only then claims for damages will be possible.
According to the ORF, the investigation started with a key witness. The BWB is currently investigating a construction cartel, in which construction companies are said to have agreed on public contracts from municipalities, among other things. There are also points of contact between waste management and the construction industry, especially in the remediation of contaminated sites. Those in the know therefore do not rule out that the competition watchdogs came across the garbage cartel in their investigations into the construction cartel.