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  • Dear Readers!

    Once again the world’s largest trade fair for the water, sewage, waste and raw materials sectors has opened its gates in Munich. As in previous years, hundreds of thousands of specialists from all around the globe are expected to attend the exhibition centre in the capital city of Bavaria this year. And once again, focus will be put on modern environmental technologies which aim to increase global recycling rates and make our planet more sustainable – and rightly so. We at REMONDIS love recycling and are doing everything that is economically viable and technologically possible to promote sustainability. However, no matter what recycling efforts are made, there is still that undeniable truth which people often prefer to ignore: at the end, there are always some materials left over. Each time residual and hazardous waste is thermally treated, it generates slag; each time a road is dug up or a building demolished, it produces mineral waste and construction waste. And after all possible substances have been sent for materials or thermal recycling, the question remains ‘what to do with the residue that cannot be recycled?’ The subject of sending waste to landfill appeared to have been taken care of in Germany when the ‘TaSi’ (Technical Directive on the Recycling, Treatment and Disposal of Municipal Waste) came into force in 2005. We are, therefore, now rubbing our eyes in disbelief as it becomes clear that a lack of landfill space – a problem believed to be something of the distant past – is, slowly but surely, threatening to catch up with us again. The City of Kaiserslautern has understood what is happening and has entered into a public private partnership with REMONDIS’ subsidiary, REMEX, to build a new landfill that will be able to accept 400,000 tonnes of mineral waste each year. This, too, is something that must be done for the future of the country.

    Some years ago, Prof. Klaus Töpfer, former Federal Minister of the Environment, introduced the so-called ‘dual system’ to take the pressure off household waste landfills and to push forward the country’s recycling activities. The recycling bin (known as the yellow bin in Germany because of its yellow lid) enabled recyclable and residual waste to be collected separately from households and proved to be a success for many years. Indeed, this concept was exported to many other countries. This system is now in danger of collapsing as a result of its own loopholes. Projected volumes of correctly licensed sales packaging will fall this year to just 812,000 tonnes, a 26 percent drop compared to last year, whilst the amount of waste sales packaging actually collected will remain the same at around 2.2 million tonnes. The honest system operators are having to bear this financial ‘gap’ and no-one is able to say how long it can survive. In this issue of REMONDIS aktuell, we look more closely at the question of whether the recycling bin has a future or whether it has finally reached the end of the line.

    No matter what the future brings, waste and raw materials will still have to be transported from A to B. Looking at the growing shortage of qualified truck drivers in Germany, however, this may soon be more easily said than done. Fewer and fewer young people are choosing to join this profession which is so important for road logistics. REMONDIS has taken action to counteract this trend and is offering more apprenticeship jobs in this area. The job of a truck driver is so much better than its image. The apprenticeship course offers much more than simply learning to drive a truck – it also teaches all about vehicle technology, infrastructure, logistics and mobility.

    As always, I hope you enjoy reading this edition of REMONDIS aktuell.
    Yours

    Ludger Rethmann 

  • REMONDIS acquires share in Högl T.E.O. GmbH

    • REMONDIS acquired a 49% share in Högl T.E.O. GmbH at the end of January. Högl T.E.O. GmbH, a family-owned firm based in the Bavarian town of Volkenschwand, primarily focuses on developing and implementing technologies to generate renewable energy from organic materials and other substances. As a result of this transaction, both companies now aim to work together to intensify their activities in the areas of processing biowaste, generating biogas and operating biogas plants in Bavaria.

    This new associated business is already making an important contribution towards helping the region achieve its planned ”energy turnaround”, i.e. changing energy supply from fossil fuels to renewables. REMONDIS acquires share in Högl T.E.O. GmbH REMONDIS managing director, Frank Gärtner, underlined the importance of this transaction for REMONDIS: ”Högl T.E.O. GmbH is an ideal addition to our business activities in a region that can guarantee a steady supply of top quality biomass thanks to its rural structure and the many agricultural and food processing businesses located there. By digesting this material and transforming it into electricity, REMONDIS and Högl are, together, making a valuable contribution towards generating carbon-neutral energy and so preventing climate change.” As a result of this investment, REMONDIS is stepping up its commitment to energy generated from biogas.

REMONDIS supports educational work at schools in the City of Saransk

In 2012, a new kerbside collection system was introduced into the City of Saransk which allowed different waste streams to be segregated and collected separately. Since then, the schools there have picked up on this subject and begun teaching in class about the importance of separating recyclable waste. 10% of waste from the city’s households is already being sorted and processed. ”Such a result is very important for environmentalists,” explained Alexander Makejtchev, Deputy Minister for the Environment of the Republic of Mordovia. Being responsible for waste management in the City of Saransk, REMONDIS has also stepped up its efforts to teach and inform those living there about this subject, in particular the younger generations. ”300 tonnes of waste are collected in Saransk every day and taken to landfill. That is a lot of material,” said Swetlana Bigesse, general manager of OOO REMONDIS Saransk. ”We need a segregated waste collection system to reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfill.”

 

 

 

 

 

  • Court gives green light for REMONDIS‘ waste paper collection service

    • With its ruling of 24.09.2013 (4 A 1163/10), which has since become legally binding, the Hanover administrative court determined that REMONDIS may continue to offer its free kerbside collection service for old paper in the Hanover region. The judges concluded that the regional Hanover authorities did not have the right to forbid the private sector company from providing this service and dismissed their claim that such a service affected the economic interests of their municipal association, Zweckverband Abfallwirtschaft Region Hannover (aha). 

    As a result, REMONDIS may continue to distribute its so-called ”blue bins” to the households in Hanover so that they can use them for disposing of their old paper. Households which choose to use REMONDIS’ paper bin are not obliged to use one of aha’s bins as well. REMONDIS believes that the court’s ruling in favour of the private-sector waste paper collection service will serve as a model for other regions. Attempts have repeatedly been made in the past to try and get courts to forbid the private sector from collecting old paper. It is being shown more and more, however, that these attempts to prevent fair competition are not legal.

  • German Taxpayers Association: new study highlights the risks of public sector business activities

    • It is a question that is highly controversial and much discussed. Are local authorities the better entrepreneurs or should business activities be left to private sector companies that have to face competition every single day and provide the best service at a fair price?

    The German Taxpayers Association (BDSt e. V.) recently looked at this question in more detail and conducted an interesting study in which they examined the business activities of local authorities and mu nicipal companies and the risks connected to these. Besides looking at the scope and significance of municipal business activities, the study also addressed the subject of motive. The problems of the public sector becoming involved in business are described in great detail, with the association using vivid and sometimes bizarre examples to back their conclusions. Further information can be found, together with the study itself, at the BDSt’s website.

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