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  • Dear Readers!

    Germany has set itself some ambitious goals in its move to support global efforts to reduce emissions of ozone-depleting gases – first and foremost CO2. On signing the Kyoto Protocol, the governments agreed to reduce emissions so that global temperature increases are limited to below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. According to the Federal government, Germany’s contribution is to have cut its emissions by at least 40 percent by 2020 and by 80 to 95 percent by 2050 compared to carbon emission levels in 1990. This goal should primarily be reached by extending the country’s network of renewable energy sources and increasing energy efficiency.

    Germany has set itself some ambitious goals in its move to support global efforts to reduce emissions of ozone-depleting gases – first and foremost CO2. On signing the Kyoto Protocol, the governments agreed to reduce emissions so that global temperature increases are limited to below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. According to the Federal government, Germany’s contribution is to have cut its emissions by at least 40 percent by 2020 and by 80 to 95 percent by 2050 compared to carbon emission levels in 1990. This goal should primarily be reached by extending the country’s network of renewable energy sources and increasing energy efficiency.

    The country’s simultaneous exit from nuclear power, however, has been like starting an experiment with an uncertain outcome. It has certainly got the network technicians reacting nervously to the slightest glitch in the system – as could be seen recently during the partial solar eclipse in Germany. In extreme cases, there can be fluctuations of up to fourteen gigawatts an hour – the result of the rapid growth of renewable energy sources – and these must be compensated for with electricity generated from fossil fuels. This is making it extremely difficult for the Federal government to reach its climate goals and so it is essential that moves are made to find alternative ways of cutting emissions. This is where the recycling sector can help. Aside from the fact that our sector is the only industry to have succeeded in completely turning itself around – from being an emitter of greenhouse gases as a result of sending organic material to landfill, to cutting carbon emissions through recycling and thermal treatment – there are still a number of other ways it can help prevent climate change. If the government makes the necessary adjustments now, i.e. with its new recyclables law, and ensures that the very most is made of the material and thermal potential of the recyclables in our waste, then our sector alone can achieve 6% of the 2020 climate goals. This has been proven by studies carried out by the Fraunhofer UMSICHT Institute. 

    Being one of the largest recycling, water and service companies, REMONDIS is already making an important contribution towards preventing climate change and conserving our planet’s natural resources. We would be very happy to be allowed to do even more. Introducing organic waste bins across the country is an important step towards achieving a more sustainable future. More and more often the public and private sectors are approaching each other to find ways of protecting the environment together to ensure future generations also have a world worth living in. Whilst it is certainly too early to say there has been a complete change of heart, one fact remains true: the public and private sectors are stronger when they work together – especially when they are looking to achieve ambitious goals!

    The term ‘sustainability’ may have been overused in recent years but it still depicts best the challenges that all industrial and commercial businesses must face – both now and in the future. Many of our customers have added our sustainability certificate to their business models. The Steigenberger hotel group, for example, has not only achieved the best recycling rates in their industry thanks to REMONDIS, their “Green Meeting“ concept, verified by our sustainability certificate, has given this successful hotel business a truly unique selling point. We are happy to help wherever we can! 

    Yours

    Thomas Conzendorf

Sustainable environmental education

  • Our planet’s natural resources are finite. Whilst this is nothing new, too little is being done to right the situation. We continue to waste the supplies of raw materials we have, whether it be wood, minerals or metals. If we want to have sufficient volumes of resources in the future, then it is essential that we learn to handle them responsibly. High time, therefore, for a sustainable change of attitude! And this is precisely what the RECYCLING PROFESSIONALS’ new teaching material aims to achieve. Presented at the didacta for the very first time, it proved to be extremely popular among the teachers and teaching specialists visiting the exhibition. 

It all began with a number of worksheets

  • Once again, Europe’s largest educational fair was held in Hanover this year, giving the more than 750 exhibitors five days to showcase their materials for kindergartens, schools, universities and further training institutes. For the second time now since 2013, REMONDIS’ RECYCLING PROFESSIONALS took part in the event. What began two years ago with a board game and a few worksheets has now become a comprehensive concept with educational theatre performances and on-tour events – such as attending the Federal President’s Summer Festival in Berlin.

Educational project takes yet another step forward

This, however, was not enough. Last year, a concept was developed to produce comprehensive, activity-oriented teaching material that could be used to help kindergarten and primary school children learn how to handle waste and recyclables correctly. “We feel it is really important that the facts about waste segregation and recycling are not simply taught to the kids but that they really have fun at the same time,” said Johanna Spinn, manager of the RECYCLING PROFESSIONALS project, as she described the concept behind the new materials.

Fun, informative, age appropriate, effective – four adjectives describing the RECYCLING PROFESSIONALS’ new teaching material for kindergartens and primary schools.

These were presented to the public for the first time at the didacta – and proved to be a huge success. 1,000 educational packs were handed out to kinder­garten teachers and a further 1,000 to primary school teachers after they had taken part in a detailed discussion about the new material. The RECYCLING PROFESSIONALS team has also been extremely busy since the event finished, processing the many enquiries they received. 

What are the goals?

  • The goal behind this project is to make it clear that waste is not really waste but a mixture of valuable raw materials which can be recycled – and that everyone can help to recover these valuable materials so they can be re-used, simply by separating their waste correctly in their homes. Whilst this knowledge is passed on to children in kinder­gartens through play (by getting them to put the right stickers on the right wheelie bin poster), a special workbook has been developed for primary schools that has been divided up into different chapters which can looked at in more detail during class.

    The new material will teach young children how to save our raw materials.

    In addition, the primary school pack contains six different recycling posters for group work and a DVD with a number of short films. “This comprehensive collection of material has been specially adapted to meet the needs of the different age groups and can be used straight away by the teachers in their classroom. They don’t need to change a thing,” explained Johanna Spinn.

The next target group: secondary schools

The didacta was not, however, only used to present the new teaching material for the kindergartens and primary schools. Secondary school teachers were also asked about the importance of using class material on subjects such as recycling and the scarcity of raw materials. Around 300 questionnaires were filled out during the didacta and the information given in these will now be used to develop a concept for creating teaching material for secondary schools. The target is to have completed this over the next nine months so that it is ready for the next didacta. “We want to get young people to be genuinely interested in sustainability and environmental protection. This is an ongoing process throughout the whole of their time at school – from primary all the way through to senior high school,” Johanna Spinn continued. The RECYCLING PROFESSIONALS are looking forward to the exciting projects due to take place over the coming months – both in and outside the schools. They are, for example, already putting together their plans for when they take part in the Federal President’s Summer Festival this year. 

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