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  • Dear Readers!

    In Germany super election year 2017 is well underway. The Saarland election has already taken place, with Schleswig-Holstein and the most populous of the German Länder, North Rhine-Westphalia, set to follow in May. General elections for the Bundestag will then be taking place in September. In these times of populism and fake news, this election will play a pivotal role. Germany has the strongest economy and largest population in Europe. The outcome of the election will have repercussions for all of Europe and influence economic and political relations with other countries around the world. In view of the dimensions involved, a key topic unfortunately often takes back seat: recycling and its importance to climate and environmental policy. We wanted to size things up accurately and enquired with all the major political party groups about their platforms concerning environmental policy in the upcoming legislative period and beyond. You will find a summary of the responses in this issue’s feature article and the complete responses online at remondis-aktuell.de. Whether elections turn out to be good for the climate and the environment in general and our growth sector in particular will ultimately be decided by hopefully well informed, active citizens.

    Some legislative bills have been initiated shortly before the elections – for example, the new Commercial Waste Regulation (Gewerbeabfallverordnung). It will involve important changes that have a major impact on our commercial customers when the new regulation goes into effect on 1 August 2017 at the latest. Under the new version, companies producing waste in connection with housing construction will be obligated to separately collect the waste items of paper, cardboard and pasteboard with the exception of hygienic paper, glass, plastics, metals, wood, textiles, organic waste and additional commercial and industrial waste already where it comes about, i.e. at companies themselves. The same goes for construction and demolition waste, which is already to be separated at the building site into the various waste categories such as glass, plastics, metals, wood, insulation material, bituminous mixtures, building material based on gypsum, concrete, bricks, tiles and ceramics. This is no doubt good news for improved recovery of raw materials, but it also means greater expenses for customers, who ­REMONDIS will support professionally as accustomed with practicable services in line with laws and regulations. 

    And how do things stand at present when it comes to refugee policy? The number of new persons seeking asylum arriving in Germany has dropped significantly. The biggest challenge now is to successfully integrate these people in our society and the German world of work. ­REMONDIS is taking on this challenge, hiring young people as well as persons with work experience in various fields who have lost their home as a result of war, famine and displacement and now want to venture a new beginning in their adopted country of Germany. A real win-win situation, as a successful start to a vocational career is the best contribution that can be made to a society living together in prosperity and peace. Here as well, ­REMONDIS meets its responsibility to society as a whole, acting in the spirt of its own slogan: working for the future!

    Yours

    Thomas Conzendorf

Coffee to Go – a genuine problem for our environment

  • Freiburg is not only boosting the international status of the Green City – it is also moving its ecological profile up another notch. Only recently it became one of the first major German cities to launch a reusable cup system for coffee to go throughout the entire municipal area. Coffee to go is also very popular in Freiburg, but causes a waste volume to a tune of 12 million empty cups a year to accumulate there.

A concept to reduce waste

Used disposable cups cannot be recycled and have to be disposed of as residual waste. Damage to the environment by coffee packaging is under discussion throughout Germany, but no political solution to the problem has emerged yet. Freiburger Abfallwirtschaft und Stadt-reinigung (ASF), a public-private partnership between REMONDIS and the City of Freiburg, has for this reason developed the Freiburg Cup and a strategy to reduce waste together with café operators.

An alternative to disposable cups

  • The most important partners of the Freiburg Cup are the operators of cafés and bakeries that sell coffee to go. As an alternative to disposable coffee cups, the ASF produces its reusable cups from stable plastic that holds up in dishwashers. Café businesses do not incur any costs, the City of Freiburg is bearing the costs for launching the system, while coordination is in the hands of the ASF.

    Mayor Gerda Stuchlik and Michael Broglin, Managing Director of ASF, at the official launch of the Freiburg Cup

The coffee houses also benefit

  • Customers also have a choice between the returnable cup and a paper cup. The deposit on the Freiburg Cup is 1 euro. Used cups can be returned at any one of the 60 businesses in the inner city taking part in the initiative. The cups are washed there, with defective or missing cups being replaced by the ASF. Merely the covers are disposable. After use, they are supposed to be disposed of in recycling bags. The concept offers numerous advantages for participating cafés: not only do they reduce the quantity of residue waste – they also demonstrate that they are making an active contribution to cleanliness in Freiburg. “The more people who take part, the more effective the campaign will be, both for the cafés selling coffee as well as for consumers,” sums up the Mayor, Gerda Stuchlik. According to ASF Managing Director Michael Broglin: If the Freiburg Cup gains acceptance among customers, the campaign will be expanded to additional city districts beginning in the summer of 2017”.

  • Learn more about the Freiburg Cup and the 72 businesses taking part in this new deposit system at abfallwirtschaft-freiburg.de [German only]

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