Environmental Services in Hungary

An Expert's View about Environmental Technologies in Hungary

Posted on: 18 Jul 2012


The Hungarian market for environmental services is expected to grow as Hungarians become more aware of the effects of global warming and as trends increase to live a more environmentally friendly life.

This market research gives a summary of the amount of waste produced, its components and the ways how the different issues are treated.

Market Overview

According to the Ministry of Rural Development, the overall amount of waste in Hungary in the year 2010 was 10,740,020 t. The composition of the waste was: agricultural and food waste, industrial waste, construction and demolition waste, hazardous waste, and communal waste.

In the year 2010 the amount of communal waste was 5,438,994t out of which 1,142,190t (21%) was collected selectively and 4,296,800t (79%) was collected in the traditional way according to the Ministry of Rural Development. The amount of waste that was collected separately should reach 50% of the overall waste collection until 2020. Currently, the amount of communal waste is slowly declining, and the selectively collected waste is steadily increasing.

The responsibility to transport selective waste to the recycling factories belongs to the local government. The composition of the transported residential waste in 2010 was: Paper (14.9%), Textile (3.6%), Plastic (15.8%), Glass (4.4%), Metal (3.1%), Organic (18.7%), Idle (3.1%), Other (36.2%), and Hazardous waste (0.4%).


Traditionally, this category includes newspapers, wrapping papers, cardboards and books; however, nowadays even drink cartons are regarded as paper. There are two ways of collecting paper in Hungary. One is to collect paper separately then throw it into a bin dedicated to paper. The second option is to order a bag, collect paper in it and wait until the trash will be transported. Usually they dedicate a day when separately collected waste is taken away. The amount of paper waste was 458,812t in 2010. Households produced 91,049t waste of paper which means that 9.104kg was consumed by one person.


Out of household waste, there are three categories that can be easily collected: paper, glass, and plastic. Both households and industries are loaded with tools and devices that are made out of plastic e.g., bottles, plastic bags, packing foil etc. Naturally, not all of these products can be thrown into the containers, which means that huge piles of plastic bags – and other plastic products – can be seen at inadequate places. Industries and households together produced 35,353t of plastic waste out of which 82% was accumulated by the industries. Out of the 6,267t waste produced by the citizens 3,931t (63%) was recycled while only 49% of the industry produced plastic waste.


Although there are plenty of differences when it comes to glasses – color of the glass or type of the glass – in this short overview it is not necessary to go into details. Glass belongs among those waste types that are collected separately even at homes and later they are thrown into the container or are taken away on a regular basis. The amount of glass waste produced in communities was 5,111t out of which 889t (17%) was recycled and 157t (3%) was demolished. The amount of waste originating from manufacturing glass was 27,734t out of which 22,573t (81%) was put into use.


In Hungary it is common to collect aluminum cans – beer cans and soda cans – because at some of the stores people get money for every returned can. Unfortunately this practice has a negative side effect namely that homeless people tend to dig up cans from the containers leaving a huge mess behind. Another downside to the system is that there are more aluminum products with which people do not know what to do with such as cosmetic products or tinfoil. Industries produced around 487,800t waste while communities piled up 40,255t out of which 22,411t (56%) was recycled.


Batteries usually contain toxic heavy metals like cadmium, nickel and lithium. Though these metals are safe under the casing as soon as it gets broken the toxins start to pollute the quality of the air, water and soil. The total amount of used batteries in 2010 was 4,321t out of which 3,971t contained toxic materials and 350t did not. The 181/2008 (VII.8) Government decree states that each and every manufacturer is obliged to take back used batteries; moreover where batteries are being sold the store must guarantee the possibility to take them back.

  Green waste

Green waste generally accumulates in the countryside where people can own fields and have their own garden. Leaf, branches, and cut grass give most of the part of green waste – in the year 2010, 26,040t green waste accumulated. In Hungary to dispose of the this type of waste there are several options, but unfortunately not many people are aware of them and usually they burn the branches and leaves which can harm the environment since some of the plants emit dangerous toxins. One possible option is to compost leftovers; however, it can be difficult for city dwellers. Another possibility is to ask for green sack in which the waste will be taken way.

Municipal Waste

Everything that has an organic origin and was thrown out in the kitchen can be considered as municipal waste. As a natural habit and often not having the space people put their kitchen waste into the containers and it will be taken to the landfills. It is rare to have the circumstances and compost whatever organic waste remains. It is also common to compost municipal and green waste together. The problem with composting is that people do not know enough information on how to start and what they can compost and it makes them unwilling to reuse their waste. Residents produced around 6,310t of municipal waste in 2010.

Electronic Waste

According to the 264/2004 (IX.23) Governmental decree the manufacturer of the electric and electronic equipment is obliged to take back, to collect, to reuse, and to make them harmless. Unfortunately only a few people are aware of this decree and still a lot of the devices are thrown among the regular trash. In 2010 overall 14,971t of electronic waste was produced out of which 24% derived from households. Astonishingly only 12% of the amount of waste accumulated by communities was reused or made harmless and almost the same (13%) can be told about the waste produced by companies. 

Read the full market research report

Posted: 18 July 2012