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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

Putting an end to overflowing containers

    • The areas around bottle banks are not always a pretty sight. These bins are often overflowing at busy times of the year, for example during events like the recent World Cup or at Christmas and New Year – something that can be really annoying for local residents. These images are to be banned from Stuttgart forever thanks to smart technology. This April, REMONDIS began testing a new digital system for the city’s bottle banks that automatically transmits information about bin fill levels – a system that should prevent the bottle banks from ever overflowing again.

    bottle banks have been fitted out with the new sensor

Measurements per ultrasound

All in all, there are 1,000 bottle banks at around 330 locations spread across the whole of the city and all of them have been fitted out with the new sensor. Every hour, this sensor uses ultrasound to measure the bin’s fill level and then transmits the data via a mobile radio network to a central office that is connected to REMONDIS’ branch in Stuttgart. If bottle banks are almost full, then the trucks’ collection routes are altered to make sure that the bins that need emptying are emptied. Other bottle banks that still have space available can be taken out of the collection route.

The route taken by the data: from the bottle bank to the driver’s mobile device

Greater flexibility, security & transparency

This new sensor technology, which REMONDIS Recycling GmbH has been developing together with the start-up company binando, is still in its test phase. Now that the system used to measure the fill level is working perfectly, preparations are underway to take a step further towards creating a ‘smart city’. The aim is for a self-learning algorithm to eventually be able to use the data to draw up the most efficient collection routes. The routes will then be transmitted straight to the drivers’ sat nav. “This combination would mean greater flexibility, security and transparency. We are doing everything in our power to ensure this system is successfully implemented across Stuttgart,” commented project manager, Marc Schubert. He also explained how the system should help highlight problem areas and make it easier to ensure the right bins are emptied at the right time. A long-term analysis of the data should also make it clear where new glass recycling locations need to be set up.

  • “We are doing everything in our power to ensure this system is successfully implemented across Stuttgart.”

    Marc Schubert, Project Manager at REMONDIS Recycling GmbH

Up to 15% fewer trips

This smart system – used to collect the approx. 12,500 tonnes of old glass thrown away in Stuttgart each year – will benefit both the locals and the environment over the long term. If REMONDIS and binando’s pilot project continues to progress as successfully as it has so far then up to 15% fewer collection trips will be needed, helping to ease the traffic congestion in the city. What’s more, it will also mean lower carbon and nitric oxide emissions across Stuttgart.

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