Good for the environment and good for your conscience: Old electronic devices that no longer work should be properly disposed of. In Austria, this is possible at electronics retailers or designated collection points. But many devices are still too good to throw away. The nationwide repair bonus provides a remedy here.
Free disposal of electronic devices
In Austria’s municipalities and cities there are more than 2,100 collection points where you can dispose of your old or broken electronic devices and batteries. A total of 15.3 kg of devices per inhabitant were collected in 2021. In absolute terms, this amounts to around 138,500 tonnes of devices and 2,800 tonnes of used batteries. All of the nearby collection points can be found on the website Elektroaltgeräte Koordinierungsstelle Austria GmbH. That means disposing of them is easy! Drop-off at collection points is free of charge. After handing in the devices, staff members decide whether they can be repaired or should be recycled. In the case of recycling, the devices are collected by registered collection organisations, dismantled into individual parts and taken to treatment plants.
In addition to designated collection points, old devices can also be handed in at an electronics retailer of your choice. Suppliers are also obliged to take and dispose of the old device free of charge when ordering a new one:
- The retailer is not permitted to demand an invoice or the return of devices sold exclusively by himself.
- One exception to the 1:1 return obligation applies to retailers with sales space of less than 150 sqm and only if they clearly and legibly inform their customers of this in the shop (e.g. “We do not take back old electronic devices”).
Further information on the proper disposal of electronic devices can be found at topprodukte.at.
Repair it, don’t throw it away
Although many electronic devices can be easily repaired after a defect and could therefore continue to work for years, they often end up in the rubbish. The general opinion is that repairs are time-consuming and, above all, expensive, so that people prefer to buy a new device. In some cases, it is indeed worthwhile to switch to more modern technology due to better energy efficiency, but there are also situations in which a repair proves to be more sustainable.
With the new, Austria-wide repair bonus, it is worth it in some cases not to dispose of defective electronic devices straight away: Anyone interested in maintaining an electronic device in the future will in most cases pay just 50 percent of the repair costs. The maximum subsidy per repair is EUR 200, and there is a subsidy of up to EUR 30 for the cost estimate. To ensure that as many people as possible take advantage of this, care has been taken to make the process as easy as possible. A repair voucher can be downloaded and printed out at reparaturbonus.at, a website of the Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK). This voucher is submitted together with the device to be repaired at the respective business. In contrast to most regional subsidies, this can be taken advantage of several times per household and year, so that several devices can be repaired at low cost.
Funding is available for the repair of practically all electric and electronic devices used in a private household. This includes electric cookers and washing machines as well as televisions and stereo systems, but also computers, printers and mobile phones. Electronic fitness and sports equipment is also included, and power tools used privately in the home and garden can also be repaired inexpensively in this way.