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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

Two birds with one stone

  • Having a guaranteed supply of safe and clean drinking water is a precious thing and is taken for granted in Germany – not least thanks to the considerable sums of money invested by the private sector. Top priority is also given to levels of safety when it comes to cleaning pressurised tanks and drinking water tanks. One such tank – operated by Wasserverband Lausitz Betriebsführungs GmbH (WAL-Betrieb), a REMONDIS Aqua subsidiary, at the pressure boosting station in Senftenberg – was scheduled recently to be inspected and cleaned. The company decided to use this opportunity to invite the Senftenberg fire brigade to join them and take part in a rescue exercise.

Difficult conditions

  • The aim of the exercise was to practise responding to an emergency situation, rescuing and giving first aid to an injured employee – hopefully a situation they will never have to actually experience. With the operations manager at WAL-Betrieb and the Senftenberg fire brigade closely monitoring the exercise, the team practised rescuing a person from a 5,000m3 underground drinking water tank via a steep ladder descending approx. ten metres below ground. The poor light and tight spaces made the operation difficult even for the experienced firefighters. “Fortunately the rescue team did not need to wear special breathing apparatus as the air was okay. Breathing apparatus makes rescue operations in tight spaces far more difficult to carry out,” commented Frank Albin, officer-in-charge at Senftenberg fire brigade. 

    • Poor light and tight spaces make such operations difficult for even the most experienced firefighters

Well worth the effort

  • The rescuers strapped a WAL-Betrieb employee to a marine stretcher and then pulled him to the surface where, in an emergency, he would have been given any necessary medical treatment. The officer-in-charge was very pleased with the way the exercise went. “Our colleagues have got to know the local conditions, practised rescuing a person from an underground tank and are now well prepared for such assignments.” WAL-Betrieb believes it is essential for the safety of their staff that they cooperate with the fire and rescue services in this way.

    Not just safe water but safe operations as well.

    “We wanted to use this exercise to discover any potential weak points as well as to make sure that we have access to a professional rapid response team in the case of an emergency. We have held similar such exercises at the Brieske/Senftenberg sewage treatment plant which were just as successful,” concluded Christoph Maschek, managing director of WAL-Betrieb.

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