Employement effects of different municipal waste treatment systems based on data from Austria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


External Organisational units

  • Institut für Mathematik und Wissenschaftliches Rechnen, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz


Although waste management has long been an important economic sector, its employment effects have so far been neglected in economic calculations. Recently, employment effects have been addressed in the European Green Deal or the Climate Neutrality Strategy. A scientific calculation is, however, still missing. To close this gap, our paper develops a set of alternative models as to residual waste treatment and investigates their potential to produce direct employment effects. The models include employment required for treatment plants plus employees needed in collection and transports. The models range from basic to sophisticated, from unregulated landfilling via 100 % waste incineration to mechanical-biological treatment to improved separate collection and advanced recycling. Data for devising these models were derived from a secondary analysis (e.g. residual waste analyses of the Austrian provinces) and from expert interviews. Although the models are simplified and build on generic waste management systems, they allow for a rough estimation of employment effects: The more sophisticated the waste management system, the more employees are necessary. In all models, but especially in improved separate collection, collection accounts for a significant part of the additional employment. The models show an increase in employment many times over with the improved separate collection model compared to the other models. Although our results can only be scaled up to European Union level in a limited way, we can state that shifting from less sophisticated waste management models to more desirable ones can involve an increase in employment of at least some 40.000 jobs.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-151
Number of pages16
Issue numberJune
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2021