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  • Dear Readers!

    The summer break has come to an end and people are gradually returning to work – as are the MPs in Berlin. Once again, environmental politicians are focusing on the subjects of waste management and recycling. The coalition agreement, signed by the Government in 2013, gives great importance to curbing global warming and using our planet’s natural resources efficiently and also expressly states that innovations that protect the environment, prevent climate change and preserve resources are also opportunities for economic growth. Industry specialists are well aware, however, that economic growth and more innovations are only possible if there are clear framework conditions in place that guarantee fair competition, if product responsibility is extended and if recycling targets are raised. The latter, in particular, can only be implemented if the necessary legal framework has been established so that joint kerbside collection schemes for packaging and other recyclables can be set up.

    Unfortunately, the latest draft bill for the new packaging law has failed to deliver what many had been hoping for. What we seem to have here is the eighth amendment to the Packaging Ordinance rather than a genuine recyclables law. Whilst there are a few positive approaches to remedying the current deficiencies, it does not deal with the question of whether waste made of similar materials to packaging should also be collected in recycling bins. The increased recycling targets are well below the volumes that could actually be recovered from household waste. According to the latest studies, an additional 7.8 million tonnes of raw materials could still be collected which in turn would reduce carbon emissions by a further 1.6 million tonnes. Moreover, the need for fair competition and a level playing field between the private and public sector companies has not been tackled in the draft bill either. And there is practically no mention of introducing effective ecodesign guidelines that would force manufacturers to think about how their products could be recycled when actually designing them. We must wait and see whether this draft bill actually becomes law. The private recycling sector believes that a number of improvements need to be made to the bill. Time is running out, however, with the general election coming up next year.

    REMONDIS demonstrates just what can be done with waste and how the very most can be made of these materials to curb climate change and protect the environment – such as at its Lippe Plant in Lünen. The efforts being made by the company here were officially recognised recently when KlimaExpo.NRW (a cross-departmental initiative of the state government of NRW to prevent climate change, conserve resources and achieve sustainable economic growth) added three of the Lippe Plant’s areas of expertise to its list of the twelve best projects in North Rhine-Westphalia. At this site, industrial and household waste is recycled and turned into primary products for industrial businesses, waste and residual materials are transformed into fuels and, last but by no means least, biomass is recycled or used to generate energy. These three areas of expertise alone reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 416,000 tonnes every year – and are, therefore, getting as close as technically possible to achieving fully closed cycles. The Lippe Plant flagship project is becoming ever more effective. It is high time that this model becomes the norm so that future generations also have a planet worth living on.

    Yours

    Thomas Conzendorf

50 branches across the country

Recycling, services, water: REMONDIS offers a wide range of services in Poland. The company has around 50 business locations across the country. Many of its operations are run as public private partnerships, i.e. in collaboration with local authorities.

A whole range of new facilities

  • One of the main factors behind the company’s success is its large number of diverse recycling facilities. REMONDIS has opened five new plants at various Polish towns over the last three years alone: the existing mechanical treatment plants in Bydgoszcz, Opole and Szczecin were extended to include composting plants so that they have now been given the status of an integrated mechanical biological treatment (MBT) facility. Moreover, a composting plant was commissioned in Tarnowskie Góry, an additional RDF plant was built in Szczecin and a new recycling centre began operations in Gliwice, which includes one of the largest and most modern MBT facilities in the south of Poland.

      Norbert Rethmann at the opening of a new plant in Poland

      Priority is now being put on sorting and recycling in Poland as well

Operations continue to grow

This centre now not only has more ways to treat municipal waste but is also able to recover greater quantities of recyclable materials. In addition to this, REMONDIS has extended its presence in the south west of Poland: its acquisition of the van Gansewinkel Group’s Polish operations and of Becker Polska Sp. z o. o. means it now has more branches and more work in the Lower Silesian, Lesser Poland, Silesian and Opole Voivodeships.

“REMONDIS has been operating in Poland for more than 24 years now and its aim is, as always, to extend its network of facilities to treat residual materials.”

Dr Marek Gebski, Managing Director of REMONDIS Sp. z o.o.

Environmental & economic benefits

Poland is making great efforts to decrease the volume of waste being taken to landfill. Setting up a suitable infrastructure, however, is essential if the country is to grow its material recycling rates. REMONDIS’ close-knit network of plants helps provide a systematic solution to this problem and is able to take over specialist tasks. It is, therefore, helping to create the basis that the country needs to be able to operate a modern recycling sector and achieve its environmental targets.

Another advantage offered by this ever increasing network of plants is that they can now collaborate with one another. This creates synergies and economies of scale that not only benefit the environment but also enable the plants to be run even more effectively.

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