Nanomaterials in Waste: Evaluation of Rules and Scenarios for the verification of nanomaterials in waste streams

How many nano products are already available on the Austrian market? What happens to the residue? The NanoMia project will start answering those questions by updating the Austrian nano product database. It will then analyse different waste disposal scenarios with the goal to contribute to the implementation of monitoring mechanisms in waste management.

The amount of nano-based products is increasing rapidly. In the year 2011 more than 1.300 consumer products, which contain manufactured nanomaterials (MNMs) and were available on the market, were registered in the product database of the Woodrow Wilson International Center. In March 2009 more than 450 nano products were listed in the database of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, most of them textiles, cosmetics, coatings and medicine.

Nowadays only little is known about the fate of nanomaterials at the end of their utilisation phase. That is the stage when MNMs will enter variouswaste treatment plants – ie. (mechanical-)biological treatment, waste-to-energy, specific recycling processes –, or when they will end up in landfills.

We also knowlittle about the mass relevance of MNMs in waste, or about their environmental behaviour and potential ecological effects in waste treatment processes. N Specific legislative regulations or surveillance mechanisms currently don’t exist.

Process and Methods

The first step of the project NANOMIA will be to update the Austrian nano product database by market analysis in order to overview the nano products which are currently available on the Austrian market. The results will be discussed and evaluated. This process will involve stakeholders such as manufacturers, authorities, representatives of industrial safety and consumerism will be involved.

Based on an international literature review, NANOMIA also aims to develop material flow based disposal and release scenarios for the Austrian waste management situation, using selected representativeconsumer products . These findings shall provide a basis for future continuative risk assessment approaches. Focusing on the end-of-life-phase of nanomaterials, previous models of Mueller et al. (2013) show that, to name a few,, up to 62 % of nano-zinc and 61 %, resp. 58 % of nano-titan dioxide and - silver end up as bottom ashes in residue landfills. In the context of these first international findings, disposal and release scenarios should be illustrated by material flow analysis for the selected nanoproducts.

Implementation of monitoring mechanisms

These scenarios should help to demonstrate the present situation in Austria and should assist to identify needs for future action regarding legislative regulations and monitoringmechanisms. Therefore the specifications of the national waste management act (AWG 2002) as well as of selected regulations and EU-requirements will be screened and evaluated regarding their application potential (e.g. guiding values, quantity thresholds etc.). Based on a continuative literature review on established methods in environmental analysis, new monitoring approaches for nanomaterials in waste streams and in complex waste matrices should be proposed.


  • Aktualisierung der österreichischen Nano-Konsumprodukt-Datenbank sowie Abgleichung mit vorhandenen Datenbanken (Nutzungsphase) zur Schaffung eines aktuellen Überblickes über nanotechnologiebasierte Produkte in Österreich
  • Entwicklung von exemplarischen stoffflussbasierten Emissions- und Entsorgungsszenarien für sechs ausgewählte und für die österreichische Situation repräsentierende Nano-Konsumprodukte mit Fokus auf die Gefährdungspotentiale in der End-of-Life-Phase
  • grobe Defizitanalyse der österreichischen und EU-weiten abfallrechtlichen Regulative hinsichtlich der Entsorgung von Nano-Konsumprodukten als Arbeitsgrundlage für zukünftige nano-regulative Maßnahmen
  • Empfehlungen zur Charakterisierung und zum Monitoring von Nanomaterialien in Abfällen am Beispiel der ausgewählten Nano-Produkte
  • Sensibilisierung und Anregung des öffentlichen Diskurses durch Diskussion und Evaluierung der Ergebnisse in einer Expertenrunde mit Stakeholdern (Produzenten, Behörden- und Interessenvertreter)


04/2014 - 03/2015

Project team