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  • Dear Readers!

    There have been waste management laws in Germany for over 40 years now. At least once a decade, politicians have made some groundbreaking decisions. The “Deponieverordnung” (Landfill Ordinance), the separate kerbside collection system for waste packaging and the “TaSi”, which bans certain materials being taken to landfill and has been acting as a role model for many countries, are all examples of how they have succeeded in systematically moving the country’s waste management sector away from landfills towards more recycling. These courageous decisions, which more often than not involve large investments, have primarily been implemented by private sector businesses but also by municipal waste management companies. We have reached that crossroads again. Germany has to decide which direction it wishes to move in and just how sustainable it wishes to become. The country’s upper house, the Bundesrat, has instructed the Government to submit a draft bill for a new recyclables law by the end of the year, presenting a unique opportunity for them to catapult German recycling activities into a completely new dimension. It is a well-known fact that waste is a source of raw materials. According to a recent INFA study, a further 95kg of recyclable materials could be collected per person per year. The signals coming from the Ministry of the Environment, however, are not particularly encouraging. Here, they are obviously thinking of limiting this new law to waste packaging and wastes made of similar materials. When recycling bins were first introduced in Germany, they were used exclusively for collecting old sales packaging. The decision to allow them to also be used for waste made of similar materials was made a while ago now and it is estimated that this move would only increase the amount of recyclables collected by an additional 5kg per person per year. At REMONDIS, we believe even this figure to be illusory as our experience from collecting, sorting and recycling the contents of the recycling bins has shown that many people are already throwing wastes made of similar materials to packaging into the bin – an intelligent move even if they are not supposed to do this. If politicians limit the new law to just this area, then it will, for the most part, be completely ineffective. We are, therefore, calling on politicians to act as visionaries and be courageous. Make the most of this unique opportunity and set ambitious collection and recycling rates. This is the only way to ensure Germany has a secure supply of raw materials and that everything possible is done to prevent climate change.

    Developing sustainability in the water and recycling sectors is just beginning in Asia. Materials recycling has been neglected in this region for far too long and has hardly been able to keep up with the exponential growth on the continent. Singapore is now looking to do more in this area. One of the latest projects of the country’s National Environmental Agency (NEA) involves a new facility to process slag from waste incineration plants and recover ferrous and non-ferrous metals at the same time. REMEX is the company responsible for building and operating it. Once again, Singapore is forging ahead and acting as a role model for other densely populated regions in Asia.

    Back in Germany, REMONDIS continues to extend its successful cooperation work with local authorities. The recently founded AWIGO Logistik GmbH is the company’s latest joint venture – a public private partnership between the administrative district of Osnabrück and REMONDIS’ regional company, REMONDIS Nord.

    As always, I hope you enjoy reading about these and the many other topics in this latest issue of REMONDIS aktuell.

    Yours

    Max Köttgen 

EKO-PUNKT to cease its dual system operations

  • Following the latest developments on the market, EKO-PUNKT GmbH is to cease its dual system operations run in accordance with the ‘VerpackV’ (Packaging Ordinance) at the end of this year and to offer consultancy and brokerage activities instead. Its customers can benefit from these brokerage services immediately as they have already been integrated into the company‘s portfolio. EKO-PUNKT‘s parent company, REMONDIS, took this decision in response to a further dramatic fall in the volumes of licensed sales packaging and the failure of the dual system operators to agree on effective countermeasures to stabilise the system.

Further confrontations within the dual system inevitable

To further clarify the reasons behind this decision, EKO-PUNKT pointed to the latest agreements reached by the ‘Gemeinsame Stelle’ (clearing house). Despite months of trying, EKO-PUNKT believes it is impossible for the parties to agree on a business concept that will create a realistic solution for the continuance of the ‘dual system’. EKO-PUNKT deeply regrets this situation. The legislator is in favour of a system that would be implemented by nine competing ‘dual system’ companies and call for voluntary commitment from all market players. Such a system presupposes a high level of willingness on the part of all parties to fulfil their obligations and demonstrate solidarity. The relationship within the ‘dual system’ is, however, characterised by discord and mutual distrust. Looking at the results of the joint meetings of the ‘dual system’ businesses, it has become clear that this status quo is unlikely to change. Whilst they did manage – at the very last moment – to come to an agreement regarding volume distributions and market shares for the rest of this year, it is inevitable that the confrontations will resurface once they start discussing the first quarter of 2015.

  • ”Being one of the honest system operators, we are unable and no longer wish to accept this situation.”

    Herwart Wilms, REMONDIS Managing Director

Loopholes still exist

REMONDIS Managing Director, Herwart Wilms, described the dramatic situation: “The volumes covered by independent take-back systems, i.e. the volumes of old sales packaging which shoppers supposedly return to the shop they bought it from, has increased from the completely unrealistic figure of 122,532 tonnes in 2013 to this year’s ludicrous figure of 236,320 tonnes. Whilst the legislator has now banned independent take-back systems in its 7th amendment to the Packaging Ordinance, it has unfortunately failed to com­pletely get rid of the other loopholes such as industry-specific take-back systems. What makes the system particularly unstable is the fact that there are no regulations about how it should be managed and monitored. This reflects the logic of the ‘dual system’. With checks not being carried out, some operators will inevitably continue to try and create “dummy” licences to further reduce the volumes of materials they collect and so avoid having to shoulder the rising costs. The result: these “disappearing” volumes and funding shortfalls will spiral out of control at an ever faster rate. Being one of the honest system operators, we are unable and no longer wish to accept this situation.”

A reorganisation of operations is the only answer

The legislator has taken steps to try and counteract this worsening situation with its 7th amendment to the Packaging Ordinance, for example by banning independent take-back systems. Both REMONDIS and EKO-PUNKT have launched numerous initiatives in the past to try and stave off the negative development, including bringing in the Federal Cartel Office and filing charges against individual dual systems as well as starting a quality drive with the introduction of the BDE Certificate. By signing up to this voluntary initiative, honest businesses were also able to underline their commitment to a system which ensures all sales packaging placed onto the market is licensed properly. None of these measures, however, has had the desired effect, nor has the ongoing amendment to the Packaging Ordinance. As a result, EKO-PUNKT has now decided to cease its dual system operations and offer its customers consultancy and brokerage activities instead.

Much greater range of services now available

Having extended its field of business, EKO-PUNKT can now offer its current and future customers a range of take-back solutions for all types of packaging based on Section 11 of the Packaging Ordinance (commissioning of third parties). Thanks to its extensive experience of the market, EKO-PUNKT is in a position to find the most suitable and cost-effective solutions for its customers’ sales, transport and commercial packaging. Its services will also enable it to offer and implement all the options listed in the 7th amendment to the Packaging Ordinance. This covers both advice on licensing and the actual licensing of the sales packaging itself as well as setting up genuine industry-specific solutions.

EKO-PUNKT will continue to offer its customers the best services and the fairest prices.

Moreover, its portfolio not only includes sales packaging: EKO-PUNKT will also be playing a key role in all take-back systems for products which companies are obliged to or voluntarily wish to take back. Furthermore, EKO-PUNKT can offer businesses with nationwide networks a whole range of waste management services. To achieve this, it will be able to use the national presence and capabilities of the REMONDIS Group.

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