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  • Dear Readers!

    “I believe in horses. Automobiles are a passing phenomenon.” These are the words said to have been uttered by the German Kaiser, Wilhelm II, at the time when mobility was going through a radical change. No one can say for sure whether he really said this or not but it is a quote that is often used as an example of people badly misjudging the importance of an invention – and not just by futurologists. Today, mobility is once again undergoing a radical change. In some areas of the country, air quality has deteriorated so much that politicians, industrial businesses and consumers are being forced to rethink the way they act, in particular in large cities. The diesel scandal has simply further aggravated the situation. The first councils have begun banning old diesel cars from using the roads where air pollution is highest. At the same time, city planners are focusing almost entirely on creating living space and high quality office buildings. In contrast, tradespeople and commercial businesses, such as recycling firms, are gradually being pushed further and further outside the city. Their work though should continue to be quiet, free of dust and, wherever possible, without CO2 or NOX emissions.

    It’s definitely time to start thinking about possible alternatives. What could be better than using one of the country’s waste streams – i.e. organic waste – as a source of post-fossil fuel and, by doing so, enable waste collections to be carbon-neutral and practically free of fine particulate and NOX emissions? REMONDIS has begun a pilot project near Cologne to do just this and is currently testing six vehicles run on biogas.

    The recycling industry has a new market player: the Schwarz Group (Lidl), which has an annual turnover of EUR 96.7 billion (2017) – bigger than the whole of the German recycling sector put together. Earlier this year, the Schwarz Group’s subsidiary, Green Cycle, purchased Tönsmeier, the fifth-largest recycling company in Germany, acquiring a volume of sales three times bigger than all of the acquisitions made by REMONDIS in 2016 and 2017. Industry experts believe that the Schwarz Group will also enter Germany’s ‘Dual System’ market (kerbside collection of sales packaging) in the not too distant future.

    There is so much happening in the German recycling market at the moment – a market which, according to the “Status Report on the German Circular Economy”, has around 10,800 companies competing against each other. While none of the private sector firms has a monopoly in any area of the waste management and recycling industry, the trend towards councils renationalising waste services continues unabated leading to the creation of regional monopolies. As a result, the private sector’s share of the market is also slowly decreasing. At present, for example, its share of conventional waste collection services lies at around 50% of the overall market. As always, we hope you enjoy reading this latest issue of REMONDIS AKTUELL.

    Yours

    Thomas Conzendorf

Our seas and oceans are at risk

Anyone looking for a reason to show just how important it is to protect our environment need look no further than our seas and oceans. The mass of plastic waste floating in the water is so large it can be seen from space. REMONDIS recently teamed up with the organisers of the Kiel Week, the world’s largest sailing event, to support it in the area of waste management and recycling as well as to demonstrate how recycling can help curb climate change.

  • Information on separating waste

    One of the unpleasant side-effects of this annual sailing event in Kiel are the large volumes of waste that are still being left behind by the visitors. The only way to limit this problem is to use a well thought-out waste storage and collection concept – like the one implemented by the regional head office of REMONDIS’ North Division during this year’s regatta in Kiel-Schilksee. As part of the sponsoring programme, the company set up a number of different on-the-go recycling points where the visitors could separate their waste. “As with all major events, there have to be enough bins spread around the area so that the visitors have somewhere to get rid of their rubbish,” commented branch manager, Stephan Portwich. The next step is then to ensure that the different material streams are separated correctly which didn’t always go quite to plan. Paper and packaging though, Stephan Portwich continued, were particularly well segregated in Kiel. REMONDIS had also organised speed races in Schilksee to raise awareness of the importance of separating waste. Two teams pitted themselves against each other to see who could separate waste the fastest.

  • “As with all major events, there have to be enough bins spread around the area so that the visitors have somewhere to get rid of their rubbish.”

    Stephan Portwich, Manager of REMONDIS’ branch in Melsdorf

Recycling begins at home

“I think these races were really enlightening. Some of the people watching were surprised to learn they’d been throwing their waste into the wrong bin,” one employee explained. This campaign should help waste collection in the future even if the people do not remember all the facts they learned. At the end of the day, humans alone can solve the problem of marine pollution. People need to be regularly reminded that they should use less plastic and segregate their waste properly so it becomes a normal part of their lives.

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