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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.

    Ludger Rethmann 

Qualified professional truck drivers are in high demand

  • Nowadays, many companies are finding it more and more difficult to fill their vacant positions. However, not only engineers, mechanical engineers and IT specialists are becoming a rarity but also qualified truck drivers. REMONDIS has taken action to counteract this trend. Training people to become qualified truck drivers is now an important element of its apprenticeship programme.

Not enough people are entering the profession

Subjects such as demographic change, the boom in the logistics sector, the lack of training opportunities, changing social values and, to a certain extent, the profession’s negative image have all led to there now being a shortage of qualified truck drivers. One of the consequences of demographic change has been a reduction in the working age population and this has clearly had an effect on this profession. The number of young people wishing to take up this job will not be able to compensate for the number of drivers who will soon be retiring. Experts have estimated that over a third of the truck drivers currently on the road will be retiring over the next 15 years. Besides demographic change, new social values have further aggravated this growing shortage of qualified truck drivers. 

One of the goals of modern working life is to achieve a positive work-life balance and more and more people wish to have this. The job of a truck driver is known to be both psychologically and physically strenuous and this often puts people off entering the profession. This, in turn, has led to the profession having a negative image. This negative image, however, primarily reflects the work of long-haul truck drivers who travel across Europe for days on end and who are sometimes even forced to spend their weekends parked on a lorry park at a motorway service area. Looking at the lorry drivers in the recycling sector, who work regular hours and rarely have to drive more than a few hundred kilometres, this image is not only a clich., it is also incorrect – as can be seen by taking a closer look at the truck drivers at REMONDIS.

The work of professional truck drivers is extremely varied – and at REMONDIS also involves regular and family-friendly working hours.

The profile of a modern truck driver

  • Thomas Albers, Branch Manager in Rosenheim, with some of his apprentices training to become professional truck drivers

    In addition to having extensive technical knowledge of the vehicles and mobility, modern truck drivers stand out thanks to their logistics know-how, their knowledge of infrastructures and their just-in-time mentality. People interested in joining this profession, however, are often unable to do so as they are faced with a lack of training opportunities as many companies choose not to offer apprenticeship jobs in this area due to the organisational tasks and costs involved. It is precisely for these reasons that REMONDIS believes it is extremely important to focus on attracting and supporting people wishing to enter this profession and so revive the old image of truck drivers as the ”kings of the road”.

Thanks to its apprenticeship programme, REMONDIS is combating the growing shortage of professional truck drivers

REMONDIS offers a wide-ranging programme

REMONDIS has drawn up an interesting and varied training programme for its apprentices as can be seen at REMONDIS Süd GmbH in Rosenheim. As part of their course, the apprentices there learn how to handle fork-lift trucks, wheel loaders and diggers and discover first hand all about one of the important issues of the future, namely about ‘raw materials from waste’. The young drivers help to carry out the pre-departure checks and ride along in the collection vehicles and other special vehicles – something ”ordinary people” rarely have the opportunity to do. It goes without saying that the apprentices have to take the appropriate driving tests to get their licence to drive a truck. Thomas Albers, branch manager in Rosenheim, is really pleased with the apprenticeship course on offer for truck drivers-to-be: ”Our branch in Rosenheim has definitely become more independent since the apprenticeship programme began. Thanks to the young drivers, who we have trained ourselves, we can operate far more flexibly when staff are on holiday or off sick. The apprentices can really support the team as they already have their licence to drive a truck in their second year of training, have already driven the regular routes and have already learned how to empty the paper containers and operate the special vehicles.”

The company has become proactive in Rosenheim and is training its own truck drivers

Rosenheim clearly demonstrates that such apprenticeship courses are a complete success for all involved. REMONDIS successfully trains its apprentices, teaches them a wide range of skills and supports them as they plan their future career. In return, the apprentices further increase the value of the family-run business ensuring that the logistics chain runs smoothly each and every day. This decision to offer a quality apprenticeship programme in one of the many modern professions further underlines just how important the subject of sustainability is at REMONDIS. Assuming social responsibility, alongside its economic and ecological responsibilities, is a central feature of the company’s activities.


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