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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 

Plans for a new slag processing plant

Singapore is one of the most densely populated countries in the world with very little land and very few raw materials of its own. With this in mind, the Government of this Asian city-state is pushing ahead the development of a resource-efficient society. In line with this, Singapore’s first ever facility for processing waste incinerator slag is due to start operations in the near future. A REMONDIS Group company has been commissioned to build and operate the plant: REMEX Mineralstoff GmbH.

REMEX wins tender

This new facility for processing slag from waste incineration plants and recovering ferrous and non-ferrous metals is a project initiated by the NEA (National Environment Agency) in Singapore. Having put out the project to tender, the agency awarded the contract to REMEX. This REMONDIS subsidiary has extensive experience of this type of work and already operates similar facilities in the Netherlands and Germany. In order to set up and operate the facility in Singapore, REMEX founded a local branch which is being run under the name, M/s REMEX Minerals Singapore Pte. Ltd. 

  • “As industrialisation grows, so, too, does the demand for metals. By recycling metals from waste incineration processes, we are helping to ensure that the very most is made of our existing resources.”

    Venkat Patnaik, Managing Director M/s REMEX Minerals Singapore Pte

Current recovery processes not ideal

REMEX is to begin construction work on the Singapore slag processing and metal recovery plant this October. The facility is due to start operations in the summer of 2015 and will be able to process approx. 650,000 tonnes of incinerator slag every year.

The project in Singapore to process slag and recover raw materials will be acting as a role model in Asia.

The slag will be coming from Singapore’s four waste incineration plants which are also the country’s biggest energy producers. At present, magnet separators are in use which are only able to recover larger pieces of ferrous metal. The disadvantage of this conventional process is that valuable non-ferrous metals, such as aluminium and copper, and small iron pieces remain in the slag residue and are lost forever.

Large volumes of small metal parts

Once REMEX’s facility is up and running, it will greatly increase the country’s recycling rates as it will also be able to filter out non-ferrous metals as small as one millimetre in size. Recovery rates of ferrous metals will also grow considerably as the facility will have the capability to recognise and remove pieces that are four millimetres or bigger. All in all, around 90 percent of the ferrous metals and over three quarters of the non-ferrous metals will be able to be recycled. To reach these targets, REMEX will be relying on both well-established machinery, e.g. magnet separators, as well as on state-of-the-art processes, such as the technology the company developed itself in the Netherlands. Moreover, it will be installing special eddy current separators to ensure even the smallest of metal pieces are recovered.

Recycled products for the building trade

This new slag processing plant will not only be pushing forward metal recycling, which is so important to Singapore. The NEA is also looking ahead and has its eye on the largest material fraction: the leftover slag itself. If treated correctly, this material could be used as a substitute material in road and earthworks projects – for example as an aggregate in concrete products.

Special processes have been developed to treat waste incinerator slag enabling it to be used as a high quality building product so that it can substitute and conserve primary raw materials.

Such products include paving stones, concrete slabs for building paths, kerbstones, concrete blocks and armour stones for protecting river banks and coastlines. Recycling slag for use in construction projects is already practised in Europe and provides an alternative to sending such material to landfill.

  • “The construction of REMEX’s facility to recover metals is part of our long-term plan to improve resource efficiency.“

    Ronnie Tay, CEO of the NationalEnvironment Agency (NEA), Singapore

Transport by ship to Semakau Island

The site selected for REMEX’s Singapore slag processing plant is an industrial area covering 1.4 hectares and located right next door to the Tuas Marine Transfer Station. The left-over slag residue will be transported from here by ship to the Island of Semakau. This island primarily consists of deposited slag covered in soil so that its surface area increases year on year. Singapore allows nature to take its natural course on the island, as previous projects have shown this to be the best solution. Today, Semakau has its own thriving biosphere with rich tropical vegetation and a wide variety of animal species.

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