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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 

Stepping in to provide services

Since the beginning of the year, REMONDIS vehicles have been a regular sight at thousands of retailers selling mineral oil products in Germany including petrol stations and workshops, DIY stores, retail chains and oil retailers. These vehicles are on the road for the company, Gebinde-Verwertungsgesellschaft der Mineralölwirtschaft mbH (GVÖ), which selected REMONDIS Industrie Service to be its new partner.

German Packaging Ordinance lays down obligations

Hamburg-based GVÖ has licence agreements with over 150 partners from the mineral oil sector and is responsible for collecting and recycling their used oil containers. It set up its system in response to the German Packaging Ordinance which came into force in 1998. This stipulates that manufac-turers and distributors are responsible for collecting and recycling any sales packaging they place onto the market. This obligation can, however, be transferred to a third party – such as GVÖ.

Collection from 8,284 outlets

GVÖ’s services are financed by the licence payments received from its partners. As a result, people purchasing oils, fats, antifreeze, additives and similar oil-based products are able to return their sales packaging – no matter what the brand and free of charge – to any retail outlet that sells products from GVÖ’s partners. This system is also free of charge for the retailers; they must only cover the initial cost of providing suitable containers to store the returned packaging.

REMONDIS Industrie Service has been offering its customers safe solutions for their hazardous waste for many years now.

REMONDIS collects the empty plastic and metal containers from a total of 7,324 outlets in the state of North Rhine Westphalia and 960 outlets in Hamburg and ensures they are recycled using eco-friendly processes. If they wish, the retailers can also use other REMONDIS services. Christian Kürpick, project manager at REMONDIS Industrie Service, explained: “We are happy to help our customers wherever we can, for example inspecting and maintaining their oil and petrol separators, collecting their garage waste or collecting and recycling their old aerosol cans.”

A wide range of consumers

According to the German Packaging Ordinance, the term “consumer” not only refers to private individuals but also to restaurant businesses, public administration buildings, schools, hospitals, doctors’ surgeries, charity organisations, freelan-cers and cultural and recreational facilities. They can all use GVÖ’s take-back system for used oil containers.

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