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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

A tour of the plant’s recycling operations

  • Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), Dr Barbara Hendricks, was welcomed to REMONDIS’ Lippe Plant, Europe’s largest industrial recycling centre, on Friday, 17 February 2017. Accompanied by senior civil servant Dr Thomas Rummler and German MPs, Sylvia Jörrißen and Michael Thews, the minister first toured the plant in Lünen to see the wide range of technology and recycling operations for herself before meeting with REMONDIS managing directors to discuss the future of the recycling sector in Germany and Europe.

Support from politicians is important

Their talks focused on a number of areas including introducing ecodesign guidelines for manufacturers and improving current legislation to increase the volume of recyclables collected in Germany – two key factors for making recycling even more efficient in the future. Looking at the exponential growth of the world’s population, it will become increasingly important to close product cycles and recover the raw materials for re-use to ensure there are sufficient supplies of raw materials in the future. If the most is to be made of this potential and consumers are to continue to have access to affordable and eco-friendly products, then politicians need to initiate far-sighted legislation. The idea of introducing ecodesign guidelines – i.e. regulations that would make it obligatory for producers to design their products so that preferably all of the raw materials in them can be recovered and reused – was discussed as a medium-term political goal.

This opportunity was also used to talk about the latest legislative changes and to suggest how they might be improved. The fact, for example, that the latest draft bill regulating the use of fertilisers actually puts compost that does not cause water pollution – and that is so important for our soils – in a worse position than slurry would not appear to be the most effective way of protecting our lakes and rivers. REMONDIS believes there is room for improvement here. During the press conference following her visit, the Federal Environment Minister praised the role REMONDIS was playing here – showing others how modern legislation can be used to promote recycling and create jobs to grow sustainable development in Germany.

The minister spoke out in favour of having modern legislation that promotes both recycling and sustainable development

Herwart Wilms, Managing Director REMONDIS Assets & Services GmbH & Co. KG (right), welcomed Federal Environment Minister Dr Barbara Hendricks (3rd from left) and German MPs, Michael Thews and Sylvia Jörrißen (from left to right) to the Lippe Plant in Lünen

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