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  • Dear Readers!

    At the beginning of December, delegates from 195 UN member states and the EU travelled to Paris to try and find a compromise to curb global warming – a compromise which all countries should then honour. Their primary goal has been to find a new agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol which ends in 2020. They had not reached the end of their deliberations when this magazine went to print but one thing has become very clear: the significance of the recycling industry as a means to preventing climate change continues to be underestimated. And yet there are so many excellent examples that demonstrate how sending waste for materials recycling not only protects our environment and conserves our dwindling supplies of natural resources but also helps to curb global warming. REMONDIS’ Lippe Plant in Lünen reduces emissions of CO2 equivalents by almost half a million tonnes every year by recycling waste and producing regenerative energy. And this is just one plant in REMONDIS’ network of approx. 500 facilities. If the whole world were to use the full potential of the raw materials and energy hidden in waste, then recycling would put an end to global warming. Logically, Klima Expo.NRW has accepted three more of REMONDIS’ areas of expertise onto its list of qualified projects following the nomination of its biogas plant in Coesfeld at the beginning of the year. These and other recycling plants and projects will help to spread the message that recycling has a long list of advantages and is one of the best ways to counteract climate change.  

    Recycled paper is one of these raw materials that can help curb global warming: it can be used as a substitute for paper made from virgin fibres and so help reduce the need to fell our trees. The following figures clearly demonstrate that sustainable forest management is not at the top of every country’s list. We are currently losing around 13 million hectares or 130,000km² of forest every single year. That is the equivalent to a forest the size of England being cut down every year. Forests are an effective way of preventing climate change as each and every tree absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere. Paper recycling helps protect our forests and probably has the biggest impact on the carbon footprint of our informed society which still turns to paper formats as their main source of information despite the presence of the Internet. REMONDIS provides the paper industry with huge supplies of high quality recycled paper, helping the sector to become more sustainable.

    Sustainability, however, starts before recycling is actually needed. The European Waste Framework Directive puts re-use in second place after waste prevention and ahead of materials recycling. It is, therefore, a logical decision for Daimler, REMONDIS and a number of other partners to set up the world’s largest second use battery storage unit made from used lithium-ion batteries at the Lippe Plant. The batteries, which will come from the growing number of electric cars, still have 90 % of their storage capacity after they can no longer be used in the vehicles – more than enough to help stabilise the grid as more and more electricity is provided by fluctuating regenerative energy sources. After approx.10 years use in this battery storage unit, the batteries can then be sent for efficient materials recycling – perfectly closing the life cycle of this product.

    We would like to thank all our friends, partners and employees for their goodwill and loyalty throughout the past year and wish them a very happy Christmas and all the very best for the New Year. 

    Yours

    Max Koettgen

Preventing climate change in three different ways

  • During a recent visit to the Lippe Plant by Dr Anton Hofreiter, parliamentary leader of the BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN (Green party) in the German Bundestag, KlimaExpo.NRW officially accepted three areas of recycling expertise at the plant in Lünen onto its list of qualified projects for its permanent exhibition. Over the next seven years, KlimaExpo.NRW will be presenting 1,000 projects, so-called ‘engines for progress’ that are located across the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and best demonstrate how climate change can be prevented. Taking its 120th step, this NRW initiative officially named the Lippe Plant as a ‘pioneer in climate protection’ in three different areas: “Primary products for industry”, “Material and energy uses of biomass” and “Fuels from refuse”.

  • Conserving resources & cutting carbon emissions

    REMONDIS’ three key areas of expertise at its plant in Lünen help to conserve our planet’s natural resources and cut carbon emissions. Here, 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 in its biomass-fired power station. These three areas alone reduce greenhouse gases by around 416,000 tonnes every year.

  • The greenhouse gas emissions reduced by the Lippe Plant = the total annual carbon footprint of ca. 50,000 inhabitants in Germany

Treatment of a whole range of different types of waste

“The intelligent and efficient further use and recycling of refuse is an important engine of progress for our state. Through its work in this area, REMONDIS in Lünen is making an important contribution to climate and resource protection,” commented Dr Heinrich Dornbusch, KlimaExpo.NRW senior managing director, as he welcomed the project to the NRW permanent exhibition.

REMONDIS’ plant in Lünen is home to a large number of facilities that are able to treat and recycle a wide range of waste for re-use: plastics are transformed into granulates and slag into metal. Another example is the sodium aluminate that can be used for treating wastewater or making binding agents.

Some of the sodium aluminate produced at the Alumin facility is used to make white pigments for the plaster and paper industries. FGD gypsum, generated by flue gas desulphurisation systems at fossil fuel power stations, is also processed here and transformed into binding agents.

  • ”It is impossible to imagine Germany achieving its climate goals without the investments and innovative strength of the private sector.“

    Herwart Wilms, REMONDIS Managing Director

From waste to fuel

Another plant at the site takes waste from meat production factories – in particular animal fat – and processes it into biodiesel. This facility has the greatest single impact, as far as curbing global warming is concerned, as these operations mean that 160,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions can be slashed every year.

The company, however, not only recycles waste to produce goods for industrial firms but also for agricultural businesses and private households. The composting plant/earthworks processes over 70,000 tonnes of organic and garden waste as well as old wood, cutting CO2 emissions by 7,000 tonnes a year. Not all the tree and plant cuttings are suitable for materials recycling. They can, however, be put to good use – as a regenerative fuel for the site’s biomass-fired power station. The electricity generated by this power station – approx. 160,000 MWh per year – greatly reduces the demand for electricity produced using fossil fuels.

CO2 reductions similar to that of 80 wind turbines

All in all, the activities at the Lippe Plant cut greenhouse gas emissions by almost 470,000Mg of CO2 equivalents. This volume of greenhouse gas is roughly the same as the total annual carbon footprint generated by ca. 50,000 inhabitants in Germany. The same, therefore, as the emissions generated by towns the size of Ibbenbüren or Erftstadt. Looking at the volume of carbon emissions that a wind farm, such as the one in Düren, is able to reduce, the reductions achieved by the Lippe Plant can be compared to a wind farm operating 80 wind turbines.

Herwart Wilms, managing director at REMONDIS, was presented with the KlimaExpo.NRW certificate in the presence of Dr Anton Hofreiter. Mr Wilms reiterated the importance of materials recycling as an effective means of curbing climate change, saying: “We are delighted that three further pioneering centres of expertise here at the Lippe Plant have been recognised as a qualified KlimaExpo.NRW project in addition to our biogas plant in Coesfeld. The fact that Dr Anton Hofreiter has joined us on this occasion is further confirmation of just how closely resource conservation and climate protection are linked to the performance of the recycling industry. It is impossible to imagine Germany achieving its climate goals without the investments and innovative strength of the private sector. We are, therefore, all the more pleased to be given this recognition which will spur us on to find further ways of improving recycling systems and protecting our climate.”

The environmental performance of REMONDIS’ Lippe Plant proves that environmental protection and business success can go together very well indeed.

Herwart Wilms (far right), Managing Director at REMONDIS, holding the KlimaExpo.NRW placard naming the Lippe Plant as its 120th reference project. In the centre, Dr Anton Hofreiter, Parliamentary Leader of BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN, and Dr Heinrich Dornbusch (far left), KlimaExpo.NRW Senior Managing Director

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