Austria: Reusing old household stuff
May 20, 2023


In Austrian Tirol, reuse of old household items has never been easier. You just put them in a box and leave them in a designated place. And your pots, toys or books ends up in someone else’s house. But this innovating Austrian waste collection system also do a lot more.

It’s called the Noamol box, the household reuse system for Tyrol. It started as part of a system where municipalities and several, mainly charity organisations cooperated for the reuse of old household items. Using internet, users can find a map on where to hand in and share second-hand items. But the system has evolved from just being about second-hand and reuse. Today you can also all kinds of support for reuse, upcycling, and proper recycling. For example, you can find classes in recycling and reuse as well as repair workshops and upcycling operations.

Friendly and resource-saving alternatives
Noamol is a public-private partnership, implemented in Tyrol as the online platform It is created in a cooperation between the Tyrol waste management centre (ATM), IKB and the city of Innsbruck, and is supported by EU funds. The platform shows the citizens environmentally friendly and resource-saving alternatives for throwing away used items. The platform deliberately does not speak of “buying”. Instead, there are other options such as renting, lending, or swapping. The central question is: “Do you want to give or take?”. Depending on whether you have something to give yourself or are looking for a certain item. The platform operators see themselves as a service organisation for the respective communities and their citizens. By making all stakeholders of re-use visible on this information platform, awareness of a sustainable lifestyle is increased, which subsequently also benefits the added value of everyone involved.

How it works
The Noamol box enables the organisation behind it to collect things that are in good condition and pass them on. The boxes are easily available and can be found throughout the area. The donated items are processed and reused. This in turn creates jobs and support people who need support. And it’s good for the environment.

One of the more important ingredients of the system is the web page Here you find various instructions, tips, as well as tutorials on re-use, re-design, and upcycling, all intended to help citizens to become more active themselves. For example, there are tutorials on how to make a nice-looking fruit basket out of rope. Or how to make a stool from old fruit crates.

The Noamol box reuse system accepts all kinds of household items, among them:

  • decorative items, cooking utensils, flowerpots
  • small furnishings
  • used, but whole dishes
  • books, non-damaged without markings
  • different types of tools
  • all kinds of children’s toys
  • sporting goods.

Awarded as an EU showcase project
The Noamol organisation can be found in the Austrian districts of Schwaz and Innsbruck. A couple of years ago Noamol received the EU “flagship project” award. With the SURFACE project (Smart Urban Re-Use Flagship Alliance in Central Europe) the EU supports the implementation of smart re-use parks, encouraging a circular economy by reuse, repair, and recycling. In this context, the Noamol platform was created in 2019.

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