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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

Landfilling is not a sustainable solution

The size of the country is most certainly one of the reasons why Australia did not need to focus so much on finding alternatives to landfilling in the past. Theoretically, the wide expanse of undeveloped land meant there was plenty of space available. Climate change, however, is also impacting on Australia forcing the country to look for more sustainable business practices.

A new organics resource recovery facility

  • This July, Lake Macquarie City Council and REMONDIS took a significant step towards creating a more environmentally friendly future for the region when they opened their state-of-the-art organics resource recovery facility in Lake Macquarie City, New South Wales. A total of 44,000 tonnes of organic waste – such as food waste and garden waste – can now be processed into compost and soil amendment products every year. CEO Luke Agati believes the seven-figure sum has been well invested: “We are helping to promote Australia’s strategy to recover valuable resources and see a great opportunity here to grow the company in the region.”

    The people living in Hunter are among the first to have access to such an innovative recycling service.

    This new facility has enabled REMONDIS to expand its previous operations in this region: the company has already composted more than 100,000 tonnes of garden waste since 2013, diverting this waste stream away from landfill and saving over 13 million dollars of landfill costs. Looking at sustainability, however, the most important fact here is that this cutting-edge facility not only prevents organic waste from being sent to landfill but is also able to make the very most of this material.

“We want to make local inhabitants more aware of this subject and let them know about the advantages of composting food waste.”

Luke Agati, CEO of REMONDIS Australia

Greater environmental awareness for recovery and reuse

  • “REMONDIS applauds forward-thinking local government organisations such as Lake Macquarie City Council for their dedication to building the vital recycling infrastructure that will create job opportunities and strengthen the Australian economy,” Luke Agati continued. The facility is a milestone in the efforts being made to reduce the region’s environmental footprint and is one of the council’s biggest projects. It is the centrepiece of the council’s new 3-bin waste management system that stipulates that organic waste must be collected separately to significantly increase the volumes being recycled. Australians are still relatively unaware of both the economic and environmental importance of conserving natural resources. To encourage more people to recycle their food and garden waste, the council has set up a convenient automatic, cashless weighbridge system that will give users access to the facility with the swipe of a card, enabling fast and accurate transactions. “We want to make local inhabitants more aware of this subject and let them know about the advantages of composting food waste,” Luke Agati concluded.

    Click here to see a fast motion film of the facility being built in Lake Macquarie City

Environmental protection supported by New South Wales

  • The project also received a 1.4 million dollar grant from the EPA Waste Less Recycle More initiative, Australia’s largest pro-gramme promoting recycling across the country. 135 guests attended the opening ceremony, including many prominent business people, the German and Austrian Consuls General and two members of the Parliament of New South Wales.

    • Norbert Rethmann, Honorary Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the RETHMANN Group, Heinrich Zölzer, a former member of the Supervisory Board of the RETHMANN Group, and Gunther Neumann, Manager of the Lake Macquarie Branch, welcomed in the new era of composting in Australia

Gunther Neumann named “Young Business Executive of the Year 2018“

  • Gunter Neumann, manager of the Lake Macquarie branch and the new organics resource recovery facility, was recently presented with the Lake Macquarie Business Excellence Award in the category “Young Business Executive of the Year 2018” in recognition of his outstanding efforts to position Lake Macquarie as one of the country’s leaders in environmental protection.

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