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  • Dear Readers!

    There is a political stalemate in Germany at the moment. With four of the six parties elected to Germany’s new Parliament failing to find a compromise so that they can form a government, the country’s political future – at the time we went to print – is more uncertain than ever. A so-called Jamaica coalition, which gets its name from the colours of the different parties: black for the two Conservative coalition partners CDU and CSU, yellow for the Liberals FDP, and green for the Bündnis90/Die Grünen (the colours of the Jamaican flag), would appear to no longer be an option after the parties’ exploratory talks broke down on 19 November. At the same time, the Social Democrats seem to be sticking to their decision not to form another ‘grand coalition’ with their Conservative counterparts. There are certainly some huge political hurdles to overcome. Whilst some would prefer more state control, others are looking to follow a more typically liberal course with greater freedom for businesses. The Green’s desire to speed up the move towards an energy sector without fossil fuels (including shutting down coal-fired power stations and getting rid of internal combustion engines earlier than planned) is proving to be an obstacle for those with more conservative political interests. And, whilst the Liberals are finally fighting to expand digital networks in rural areas, the Conservatives would appear to be merely paying digital lip service to this subject.

    And yet there is no time to lose. The economy is already going through a structural change as a result of the next industrial revolution and this revolution is both digital and electrical. It has come at a time when the world is facing the huge challenges of climate change and a growing number of environmental problems which, in the end, will make it difficult to meet the global population’s needs.

    Even sand – a substance we would seem to be surrounded by – is becoming scarce. And, once again, it is our industry that has come up with a solution. If we are to curb global warming, move away from fossil fuels and conserve our planet’s raw materials, then setting up a genuine circular economy must be at the very centre of a government’s policy. If Germany, a country with so few natural resources of its own, is to remain an important industrial location in the future as supplies of raw materials become ever scarcer, then the spotlight must be turned on recycling. Recycling must be at the forefront of everyone’s minds, especially of product designers. The foundations were created for this when the Packaging Law was introduced during the last legislative period as this lays down product responsibility and market-based measures to promote recycling. What is needed now is to transfer these standards so that they apply to all products.
     
    There is always much to celebrate at the end of the year. REMONDIS is, for example, celebrating sixty years of plastics recycling at RE PLANO and, of course, that you – our custom-ers, friends, partners and employees – have remained loyal to us throughout the year. Together, day by day, we can help make the world that little bit more sustainable.
     
    We would like to thank you for your great support and collab-oration over the last twelve months and wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and successful New Year.

    Yours

    Ludger Rethmann

Jobs for 550 people

Over the last twenty-eight years since the Berlin Wall fell, REMONDIS has succeeded in setting up a recycling centre in the very heart of this capital city whose wide range of services are helping to drive forward sustainability – benefiting both the local inhabitants and the businesses in the region. This development was not one that could be taken for granted for a family-run company that has its roots and head office in the small Westphalian town of Lünen almost 500 kilometres away. Quality and reliability have won through – two extremely important factors when it comes to providing sustainable services. Today, REMONDIS is able to offer around 550 people a secure job at its plant in the Lahnstraße in the Berlin district of Neukölln – helping to protect the environment, prevent climate change and conserve natural resources in and around Berlin.

  • REMONDIS has already created 550 sustainable jobs within the environmental sector in Berlin Neukölln

Previously a cable factory – now a recycling centre

  • It is clear as soon as a visitor arrives at the entrance to the site that big things are happening inside. The company’s premises on the other side of the wide archway inscribed with REMONDIS’ name covers a good six hectares of land next to the east harbour. The building, which had previously been the head office of a former cable factory, symbolises the structural change that this area has undergone. These grounds are now home to a total of ten REMONDIS subsidiaries and a joint venture as well as REMONDIS’ logistics sister company, Rhenus. REMONDIS International’s office here manages all business operations in Poland and Eastern Europe. REMONDIS Industrieservice offers its industrial and commercial customers in and around Berlin a full range of hazardous waste management services as well as industrial maintenance work. REMONDIS Medison handles the region’s medical waste from its offices in Berlin Neukölln. REMONDIS GmbH provides container services for storing and transporting commercial waste and collaborates with Berlin council in a whole range of areas to recover raw materials from waste. UCL, also a fully owned subsidiary of REMONDIS, offers its portfolio of analytical laboratory services, taking samples of and analysing the materials due to be processed – services that are also available to external customers based in Berlin. Moreover, the laboratory carries out important groundwork for developing new innovative recycling processes. 

    10 REMONDIS companies share the premises in the Lahnstraße; they all came to Berlin and they are all here to stay.

    TSR – the REMONDIS Group’s metal recycling specialists – collects metal scrap from businesses in and around Berlin and tranships it at the harbour opposite REMONDIS’ premises. What’s more, REMONDIS Data Office provides its customers with a range of secure data and file destruction services. Rhenus’ archive service is always of great interest to anyone who enjoys history: all the files are stored in the building that used to house the Treuhand Gesellschaft, the institute responsible for privatising East German firms. Innotec also has offices here in Berlin that offer a comprehensive portfolio of property management services as well as advice on optimising waste collection schemes at housing estates.

5 million euros invested

If emphasis is to be put on protecting the environment and curbing climate change, then there are two REMONDIS plants in the Lahnstraße that should be given a special mention. The first is REMONDIS Electrorecycling’s WEEE dismantling centre, in which five million euros were invested two years ago. This upgrade has made it the most modern facility of its kind in the east of Germany. Its operations focus primarily on accepting and dismantling all types and sizes of cooling appliances. Coolants, propellants and the now banned CFCs are removed from the devices using environmentally compatible processes – essential work for slowing down climate change. The volume of raw materials they recover is impressive: absolutely all of the metals are recovered and recycled so they can be returned to production cycles. The recycling rates of the other materials are also at the highest levels possible with today’s technology. The few remaining pollutants and residual materials are sent to special processing facilities or disposed of using professional systems. The recycling centre is able to handle around 35,000 tonnes of WEEE every year.

  • The amount of paper sorted is more or less the equivalent of the amount of timber found in a forest the size of Berlin’s Grunewald Forest

Paper recycling on a grand scale

  • The second large recycling plant is the paper sorting plant run by WUB (Wertstoff-Union Berlin GmbH), a joint venture between REMONDIS and Berlin Recycling, a fully owned subsidiary of BSR. Approx. 10 million euros were invested in this facility in Neukölln which is now one of the most modern paper sorting plants in the country. 20 new jobs have been created since it opened. Using a two-shift system, the plant is able to sort 120,000 tonnes of waste paper every year to supply the paper industry with high grade products. The waste paper comes from commercial businesses, retailers, industrial firms and private households. The volume of paper processed is more or less equivalent to the amount of paper that could be produced by using all the trees in the Grunewald forest near Berlin. All in all, these paper recycling operations reduce carbon emissions by over 75,000 tonnes. During a visit to the site, Borough Mayor Dr Franziska Giffey underlined just how important the operations were: “We are proud to have REMONDIS and its modern, innovative and sustainable business in our district, which not only has a positive impact on Neukölln but on the whole of Berlin. 60% of the paper generated in Berlin is sorted here at the Neukölln site and then returned to production cycles. The facility has not only generated new jobs, it is also helping to protect the environment.”

    REMONDIS’ business in Berlin has developed an innovative procedure for recycling large volumes of packaging material made from polystyrene; this light material is pressed into blocks and cut up so that it can be used to insulate buildings

A great example of successful structural change

  • Altogether, REMONDIS’ Berlin-Neukölln industrial estate provides jobs for around 550 people. Lutz Wedegärtner, managing director and site manager, is proud of the way the business has developed to date and is very optimistic about its future. “What we have managed to achieve on the site of this old cable factory since 1994 is not simply proof that structural change can be brought about by investing in the recycling sector. There are far more people working in this forward-looking environmental services sector than there ever were in the cable factory. Recycling waste, conserving resources, protecting the environment and curbing global warming are all subjects that are vital for the future and we have set up a centre of excellence right in the heart of Berlin. REMONDIS is working in and for the Berlin region to help it create a more sustainable future.” 

    Lutz Wedegärtner, branch manager of the second-largest REMONDIS location in Germany, is well aware of just how important his site is for creating a sustainable economy in Berlin: “We have set up a centre of excellence for providing a sustainable supply of raw materials and we wish to continue expanding this business far into the future.”

  • The following companies can be found in the Lahnstraße in Berlin-Neukölln

      •  REMONDIS GmbH, Region Ost
      •  REMONDIS Electrorecycling GmbH
      •  WUB Wertstoff-Union Berlin GmbH
      •  REMONDIS Medison GmbH
      •  REMONDIS Industrie Service GmbH & Co. KG
      •  REMONDIS International GmbH
      •  UCL Umwelt Control Labor GmbH
      •  TSR Recycling GmbH & Co. KG
      •  RHENUS Data Office GmbH
      •  Innotec Abfall-Management GmbH
      •  Rhenus Archiv Services GmbH

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