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  • Dear Readers!

    Public private partnerships create a win-win situation. There is no better way to sustainably safeguard jobs, create new jobs or use efficient innovations for public services and so help keep local fees and charges stable. And yet one might occasionally get the impression here in Germany that there is currently a kind of trench warfare going on between the public and private sectors. People are talking about the current trend of some local authorities to renationalise services. Something that is threatening to eliminate fair competition. There are a number of impartial studies around that have looked in detail at the pros and cons of nationalisation. The international economics research institute, e.ca economics, for example, discovered that this trend towards nationalisation is one that is catching. On the one hand, districts that have renationalised services in the past are more likely to do so again in the future. Consequently, this effect is seen more often in districts where a large percentage of the services are already being delivered by municipal businesses. On the other hand, there is also a noticeable trend towards local authorities trying to drive private sector competition out of their market, in particular in districts with a low population density.

    Having worked together with local authorities for many years, REMONDIS is, of course, critical of these trends. Each and every day, REMONDIS shows that things are so much better when the public and private sectors work together. Being a partner in 50 PPP companies and delivering services via numerous third party contracts, we have perfected the concept of public private partnerships for all those involved – both when it comes to public services and water management. All in all, REMONDIS and its public sector partners serve over 12 million people. The local authorities and their residents are provided with high quality services at a fair price. At the end of the day, they are the ones who finance the public services via the fees and charges they must pay. At the same time, the municipal partners must keep a close eye on their budgets and economise where necessary. Having a reliable source of income from taxes can also help here. It is well worth taking a look at the way the different tasks are allocated in Germany.

    Around 35% of waste management services are provided by the local authorities themselves via their own municipal companies, which means no VAT is charged on these services. More than one third of the people living in Germany, therefore, do not pay VAT on these public services; and yet at the same time they benefit from the payments made by other local inhabitants as a result of funds being allocated between districts. The local authorities themselves lose out as they receive less tax. An unfair tax situation that ends up hurting everyone. Councils are deliberately choosing not to open up their markets even though this would enable them to cut costs. They are effectively holding back the private sector economy rather than making the most of the opportunity available to them to improve their situation and work together with the private sector to take the pressure off the public purse, increase their workforce, stabilise fees and charges and ensure they have a steady and reliable source of income.

    Both we and our long-standing municipal partners agree that the best solution is to work together as partners. This special edition of our company magazine focuses entirely on the subject of public private partnerships and aims to provide a more detailed picture of the various PPP business models, the advantages they bring for local authorities and their residents as well as the positive impact they have on jobs, on the local economies and on the environment. And, as self-praise is no praise, we are more than happy to give our partners the opportunity to speak about their PPPs here. Local authorities, which would like to have a stable and sustainable budget, to provide their residents with high quality services and to achieve the highest possible levels of sustainability in their waste management and recycling sector, will find some valuable suggestions and experiences here to help them in their decision-making process. Here’s to future collaborations!



    Thomas Conzendorf

Focusing on environmental matters

  • Sustainability is a very important topic in the south German university town of Freiburg. Located in the Breisgau region between the Rhine and the Black Forest, this attractive city (220,000 inhabitants) is proud of its environmental profile and the fact that it has been officially awarded the title of ‘Green City’.

Eight cornerstones for success

The local authorities have drawn up a plan based on eight key areas that together map out how the city should continue to develop and how its sustainability goals should be achieved. Two of these areas are waste management and energy supply – two fields in which Abfallwirtschaft und Stadtreinigung Freiburg GmbH (ASF) plays a major role. ASF is a joint venture between the city council and REMONDIS. The overriding objectives for establishing the PPP in 2002 was to ensure the fees and charges paid by local residents remained stable, to secure the jobs of those working in the company and to expand its business operations across the region. REMONDIS has owned a 47% share in ASF since 2008.

    • tonnes light packaging per year

    • tonnes plant & tree cuttings per year

    • tonnes old glass per year

    • tonnes paper, card, cardboard per year

    • tonnes organic waste per year

A pioneer in the waste management sector

  • The City of Freiburg runs its waste management business according to its motto “Creating ideas rather than waste”. Priority here is being put on waste reduction and recycling to help conserve our planet’s natural resources and curb global warming. ASF is responsible for all the tasks involved in this area – from collecting and recycling waste, all the way through to keeping the city clean. The company’s main goals are to be both service oriented and cost effective as well as resource and environmentally friendly across the whole of its operations. A number of useful synergies have been created as a result of the public private partnership between the city and REMONDIS.

    Freiburg and the surrounding districts are aiming to have halved their carbon emissions by 2030.

    There is a whole list of facts and figures that show just what high standards the partners have achieved together. The targets set by Berlin for the coming years have already been met in Freiburg. Municipal waste is just one example here. The town currently recycles 69% of its municipal waste and so is already well over the legislator’s 65% recycling target for 2020. This can be put down to the highly segregated collection schemes set up in the region and the fact that its recyclables collection system was introduced right across the city many years ago. What’s more, the inhabitants should be applauded for generating such low volumes of household and bulky waste: in 2015 they produced 111kg per person per year – 22% below the average volume in the German state of Baden-Württemberg.

    ASF has over 165 vehicles for a whole range of different tasks

Waste – a reliable source of energy

Freiburg’s future-oriented energy supply concept is based on three cornerstones: energy savings, energy efficiency and renewable energy. The partnership with REMONDIS is making a great contribution towards helping the city achieve its ambitious renewable energy targets. Organic kitchen and garden waste is used in Freiburg itself to produce energy, namely at REMONDIS’ biowaste digestion plant. This facility transforms the incoming material into high quality compost. The biogas captured by this process is then used to generate climate-friendly electricity and heat for several thousand households in the region.

  • In 2012, Freiburg was presented with the German Sustainability Award and named ‘Germany’s most sustainable large city’.

Innovative developments

  • Freiburg is intending to drive forward its innovative activities as a ‘Green City’ and ASF will be helping it to reach its goals wherever it can. It is, for example, making every effort to ensure that the volumes of waste generated continue to fall and that the amount of recyclables collected increases.

    ASF also places great importance on informing the public about waste and recycling in order to drive sustainable development in the city. To achieve this, it has developed special projects for children and teenagers. These include courses, guided tours and competitions on subjects such as resource conservation and recycling – some of which are held at schools and public institutions. There is one thing that everyone in Freiburg is sure of: this clever mixture of environmental and business activities has created a sound base that will help the city to achieve its ambitious green targets.

    > Facts & Figures

    ASF GmbH founded in


    A PPP since



    53% City of Freiburg
    47% REMONDIS

    No. of employees


    No. of vehicles


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