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  • Dear Readers!

    Germany has set itself some ambitious goals in its move to support global efforts to reduce emissions of ozone-depleting gases – first and foremost CO2. On signing the Kyoto Protocol, the governments agreed to reduce emissions so that global temperature increases are limited to below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. According to the Federal government, Germany’s contribution is to have cut its emissions by at least 40 percent by 2020 and by 80 to 95 percent by 2050 compared to carbon emission levels in 1990. This goal should primarily be reached by extending the country’s network of renewable energy sources and increasing energy efficiency.

    Germany has set itself some ambitious goals in its move to support global efforts to reduce emissions of ozone-depleting gases – first and foremost CO2. On signing the Kyoto Protocol, the governments agreed to reduce emissions so that global temperature increases are limited to below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. According to the Federal government, Germany’s contribution is to have cut its emissions by at least 40 percent by 2020 and by 80 to 95 percent by 2050 compared to carbon emission levels in 1990. This goal should primarily be reached by extending the country’s network of renewable energy sources and increasing energy efficiency.

    The country’s simultaneous exit from nuclear power, however, has been like starting an experiment with an uncertain outcome. It has certainly got the network technicians reacting nervously to the slightest glitch in the system – as could be seen recently during the partial solar eclipse in Germany. In extreme cases, there can be fluctuations of up to fourteen gigawatts an hour – the result of the rapid growth of renewable energy sources – and these must be compensated for with electricity generated from fossil fuels. This is making it extremely difficult for the Federal government to reach its climate goals and so it is essential that moves are made to find alternative ways of cutting emissions. This is where the recycling sector can help. Aside from the fact that our sector is the only industry to have succeeded in completely turning itself around – from being an emitter of greenhouse gases as a result of sending organic material to landfill, to cutting carbon emissions through recycling and thermal treatment – there are still a number of other ways it can help prevent climate change. If the government makes the necessary adjustments now, i.e. with its new recyclables law, and ensures that the very most is made of the material and thermal potential of the recyclables in our waste, then our sector alone can achieve 6% of the 2020 climate goals. This has been proven by studies carried out by the Fraunhofer UMSICHT Institute. 

    Being one of the largest recycling, water and service companies, REMONDIS is already making an important contribution towards preventing climate change and conserving our planet’s natural resources. We would be very happy to be allowed to do even more. Introducing organic waste bins across the country is an important step towards achieving a more sustainable future. More and more often the public and private sectors are approaching each other to find ways of protecting the environment together to ensure future generations also have a world worth living in. Whilst it is certainly too early to say there has been a complete change of heart, one fact remains true: the public and private sectors are stronger when they work together – especially when they are looking to achieve ambitious goals!

    The term ‘sustainability’ may have been overused in recent years but it still depicts best the challenges that all industrial and commercial businesses must face – both now and in the future. Many of our customers have added our sustainability certificate to their business models. The Steigenberger hotel group, for example, has not only achieved the best recycling rates in their industry thanks to REMONDIS, their “Green Meeting“ concept, verified by our sustainability certificate, has given this successful hotel business a truly unique selling point. We are happy to help wherever we can! 

    Yours

    Thomas Conzendorf

SAS generates eco-friendly electricity from organic waste

  • The new organic waste recycling plant owned by Schweriner Abfallentsorgungs- und Straßenreinigungsgesellschaft mbH (SAS) was officially opened at the beginning of the year. This facility uses organic waste to generate climate-neutral energy which SAS then feeds into the national grid – a valuable contribution towards helping Schwerin (the capital city of the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) achieve its goal of becoming a carbon-neutral city.

    To learn more go to 
    sas-schwerin.de

Organic waste is a valuable resource

SAS provides those living and working in and around Schwerin with a wide range of services. On 01 January 2015, it took over the additional task of emptying the organic waste bins in the city – the same day it officially opened its new organic waste recycling facility. The two events fit together perfectly as the organic waste is a valuable resource for the recycling plant.

Around 18,000 tonnes of organic waste can be processed at the organic waste recycling facility in Schwerin every year.

Once delivered to the new facility, the organic waste is first taken to the 8,000m2 hall where it is officially accepted and made ready for the anaerobic digester. Conveyor belts then transport the material to the digester where microorganisms break down the materials – an entirely natural process that produces methane and carbon dioxide, the two main components of biogas. At the end of this process, SAS transforms this biogas into electricity and heat in its combined heat and power plant.

Contributing towards a carbon-neutral city

The organic waste recycling facility is able to generate up to 2.6 million kilowatt hours of climate-friendly electricity every year – enough to cover the requirements of around 1,000 households over a twelve-month period. The majority of the electricity generated is fed straight into the national grid. Just 0.7 million kilowatt hours are kept back to cover the facility’s own needs. The plant’s operations are very important for the city’s efforts to prevent climate change. “Our goal is to become a climate friendly city and to have become fully carbon neutral by 2050. This state-of-the-art organic waste recycling facility is an important step down this path,” commented the Mayor of Schwerin, Angelika Gramkow. 

Company goal: to drive progress

The facility, built and now being run by SAS, was completed within less than a year. Construction work began on 20 January 2014 and the facility’s various components underwent their first tests in October. Following a successful dry run (i.e. without material), operations started with the organic waste soon after. Indeed the whole project has proven to be a huge success: SAS generated its first electricity in November which it fed straight into the grid. “The first kilowatt hour of electricity was a really important milestone for us,” explained Matthias Hartung, managing director of SAS. “We see SAS as being a traditional as well as an innovative company and we want it to be able to offer Schwerin’s commercial and industrial businesses and its local residents the best possible solutions.”

Around 80 employees are in action

SAS was founded almost 60 years ago. REMONDIS acquired a 49 percent share in the company in 2007; the remaining shares are owned by the city council. The collaboration between these two strong shareholders has helped to drive forward SAS’ business with the joint venture now employing around 80 employees, one third more than when REMONDIS purchased its share. 

Initiatives for efficient organic waste collection schemes

  • SAS has a number of strengths including its innovative technologies and its many and varied activities to motivate local residents to join in its collection schemes. The organic waste bins handed out at the beginning of the year, for example, have been equipped with a chip and bin identification number. This helps the company to locate the organic waste bins as well as to improve the routes their vehicles take. SAS has created a special mascot to make people more aware of the subject of organic waste. This cute figure was designed by 12-year-old Lilly Kutta and has been christened ‘Heini’. SAS managing director, Matthias Dankert, explained: “Our aim is to teach school children about the subject of organic waste. Our mascot will help to entertain the children as they absorb the information – a really fun way to point out the advantages of separating organic waste.”

    This cute mascot, christened Heini, was designed by 12-year-old Lilly Kutta

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