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.
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.”
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.
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.