Austrian recycling firm fined for preventing access to household packaging market

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Alstoff Recycling Austria (ARA) has been fined by the European Commission for having collection infrastructure that did not allow competitors to enter it.

In Austria, its compliance infrastructure means that producers are obliged to take back and recycle packaging waste from their products. This can be outsourced to another company and ARA had been the dominant provider since 2008.

However, because ARA had set up nationwide collection infrastructure in a way that could not be duplicated by competitors, and refused to give access to this infrastructure to competitors, AFA was found by the European Commission to be abusing its dominant market position.

As ARA has proposed opening the market to competition by divesting part of the collection infrastructure, the fine was reduced by 30%.

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager (pictured) said: “The waste management sector is an important part of the circular economy.

“Effective competition is vital for making recycling affordable for consumers. ARA was preventing competitors from accessing essential infrastructure and blocking them from entering the waste management market.”