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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 

Participants from the worlds of science, politics and business

  • Politicians, scientists and water experts from across the whole of Germany travelled to Bremerhaven recently to take part in the 9th REMONDIS EURAWASSER Forum. Focus this year was on the challenges that local authorities will have to face in their attempts to set up a modern and sustainable infrastructure. What tasks must they perform, what costs are involved, and how should they handle the ever growing demand for new investments with a declining and ageing population?

Keynote speech given by Prof. Kurt Biedenkopf

The guest speakers from across the country looked at these questions from a variety of angles and suggested possible answers. This year’s keynote speech was given by Prof. Kurt Biedenkopf. He talked about the importance of having a sustainable infrastructure at business locations and explained how expanding an infrastructure can influence both the quality of life of the local residents and their mobility. Young people will only remain in rural regions if the infrastructure in such areas are oriented towards the future i.e. if there are well equipped schools, universities and hospitals. He stressed, however, that the process of setting up such an infrastructure also causes considerable inconvenience for the local population. It is essential, therefore, that local residents are closely involved in the planning process in order to get their support for such projects. Ivo Grünhagen, Board Spokesman at ENERVIE – Südwestfalen Energie und Wasser AG, then took the stage to discuss the challen-ges which regional energy providers will have to face. In particular, he emphasised the fact that energy production and consumer demand will have to be linked together by intelligent networks in the future. 

Keynote-Speaker Prof. Dr. Kurt Biedenkopf

Concrete examples from Bremerhaven

Prof. Josef Stockemer, Vice Chancellor of the University of Bremerhaven, called for more long-term partnerships between the business and science communities and demonstrated just how important it is for the two to col­laborate. Prof. Meinhard Schulz-Baldes, coordinator of Bremerhaven’s project to become a climate-friendly city, gave an impressive talk explaining how Bremerhaven has implemented a number of measures to help it on its way to becoming a climate-neutral city. One of its goals, for example, is to have cut its carbon emissions by 40% (compared to 1990) by 2020.

The REMONDIS EURAWASSER Forum is one of the leading events in Germany to focus on sustainability and other important future issues.

Experts from the REMONDIS Aqua Group then showed how local authorities can implement efficient renovation and investment strategies despite rising costs and how modern technology – such as REMONDIS Aqua’s proprietary REMONDIS TetraPhos® process to recover phosphorus – can help operators to run cost-efficient plants and networks. “Research and development activities are an essential element of our daily business at the REMONDIS Aqua Group. They enable us to discover technical solutions for current and future challenges so that we can fulfil our role as a future-oriented partner for our municipal and industrial customers,” emphasised Andreas Bankamp, managing director of the REMONDIS Aqua Group, in his opening speech – a strategy, he continued, which was also reflected in the company’s new strapline “Working for the future”.

  • Melf Grantz, Mayor of Bremerhaven, was also among the prestigious speakers at this year's event

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