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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

Over 300 guests at the REMONDIS Forum in Hagen

“Innovation – Sustainability – A Strong Society & Economy”. This was the motto of this year’s REMONDIS Forum, which was held in the German city of Hagen in September. REMONDIS Aqua invited over 300 guests from the worlds of politics, business and science to join them at the event to discuss the subject of sustainability and take a look at the future of the water and recycling industries. The topics and speeches held at this year’s forum focused on the current challenges caused by the rapid advances being made in the field of technology. Climate change was also discussed as were the subjects of raw material supplies and the provision of drinking water and energy.

    If all the sewage sludge in Germany were used as a source of energy, it could cut CO2 emissions by ca. 1.6 million tonnes a year

Global challenges affecting local communities

Considerable time was spent debating about the significance of technical and structural innovations with regard to sustainability. Having a guaranteed supply of raw materials is essential for an industrial country such as Germany and this fact played a significant role in the discussions. Guest speakers at the 2015 REMONDIS Forum included the well-known science journalist, Ranga Yogeshwar, Prof. Eckard Minx, board spokesman of the Daimler and Benz Foundation, as well as the chairman of the German Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU), Prof. Martin Faulstich. Klaus Jürgen Maack, former managing director of the lighting manufacturer ERCO, explored this subject from the point of view of a producer.

Sewage sludge: a source of energy and raw materials

  • Ralf Czarnecki, head of material flow management at REMONDIS Aqua, described the new directions that the water industry was heading in. Here, he primarily focused on sewage sludge as a valuable resource and source of energy. 45 to 75 percent of dried sewage sludge comprises organic substances which can be used to generate energy. Looking at the total amount of sewage sludge produced in Germany, this source of energy could – were it to be used to its full potential – reduce carbon emissions by around 1.6 million tonnes a year. Phosphate makes up approx. 5 to 10 percent of dried sewage sludge and is, as far as REMONDIS Aqua is concerned, a sustainable source of recycled phosphorus. Were the most to be made of this source, then 90,000 tonnes of P2O5 could be recovered and reused every year.

      Andreas Bankamp, Managing Director of REMONDIS Aqua, was pleased to hear the positive feedback from the guests attending the REMONDIS Forum, one of the biggest events held in Germany to focus on water and sustainability

      Ralf Czarnecki, Head of Material Flow Management at REMONDIS Aqua, held a talk on sewage treatment plants and the possible ways of recycling the valuable sewage sludge

A catalyst for innovative solutions

  • The 10th REMONDIS Forum was held in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia for the first time. The reason behind this decision was REMONDIS’ shareholding in ENERVIE – Südwestfalen Energie und Wasser AG, a company based in Hagen that supplies energy and water to the region. REMONDIS Aqua has owned shares in ENERVIE since the middle of 2014. Andreas Bankamp, managing director of REMONDIS Aqua commented: “The forum provided an ideal platform to exchange information with each other and find ways to further develop the areas of supply and energy.”

    Interested listeners: Prof. Martin Faulstich, Prof. Eckard Minx and ENERVIE Chairman Wolfgang Struwe at the REMONDIS Forum in Hagen (from left to right)

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