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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

Partners working together to grow sustainability

  • There is a public private partnership in Berlin that specialises in one particular market segment: old paper. A partnership, therefore, that rules out any kind of conflict between the public and private sectors about this material right from the very beginning. Its goal is to use sustainable means to collect, sort and supply the raw material, paper. Around 190,000 tonnes of old paper are generated in Berlin alone every year, of which approx. 130,000 tonnes are sorted by Wertstoffunion Berlin – a PPP between the municipal company Berlin Recycling and REMONDIS.

  • tonnes of old paper. The amount of material able to be sorted by the public private facility every year

A valuable recycled raw material

Old paper is one of the more traditional sources of raw material and is hugely popular among paper processing businesses because of its numerous economic and environmental advantages. Whilst around 2.2 kilograms of wood and 4 kilowatt hours of energy are needed to produce one kilogram of new paper, just 1.15 kilograms of old paper and 1.5 kilowatt hours of energy are needed to make the same quantity of recycled paper. Since 2012, Berlin has been home to one of the country’s most modern paper sorting plants, which ensures that the old paper generated in Berlin and Brandenburg is recycled and returned to production cycles. Around eight million euros were invested in this successful public private project.

  • The amount of trees saved each year by WUB’s paper sorting activities in Berlin is the same as the number of trees found in the Grunewald Forest

A strategic & far-sighted decision

Berlin Recycling, a fully owned subsidiary of the municipal firm Berliner Stadtreinigungsbetriebe, is the market leader in Berlin when it comes to collecting old paper from private households. Looking at ways to ensure this business success continued and to safeguard the jobs of its employees, the company made the strategic decision to find an experienced partner to enable it to play a role in the sorting and marketing of waste paper. “Berlin Recycling felt it was important to take a further step along the supply chain and become involved in the processing and marketing of the materials we collect. This move benefits our customers, safeguards jobs at Berlin Recycling and increases competition on the waste paper market in Berlin,” explained Vera Gäde-Butzlaff, chairperson of the board at Berliner Stadtreinigung.

Know-how a huge advantage

  • During the negotiations, REMONDIS was not only able to show that it could offer the most attractive collaboration model but also that it had years of experience of the recycling industry. “Being the market leader, REMONDIS has extensive know-how of the recycling industry in Germany and processes old paper at over 60 sorting plants across the country. Moreover, the company likes to think long term when it comes to cooperation work and has PPP companies with more than 30 local authorities in Germany,” commented Norbert Rethmann, honorary chairman of the supervisory board of the RETHMANN Group.

  • REMONDIS stood out thanks to its very attractive business proposal, its relevant recycling experience and its extensive specialist knowledge

Conserving natural resources and creating new jobs

  • As a result of this decision, WUB Wertstoff-Union Berlin GmbH was established in 2011 and plans set in motion for a new paper sorting plant to be built. Work began on the 4,000m² building and its paper sorting facility in December 2011 and was completed in September 2012. During the official opening in 2012, Michael Müller, the senator responsible for city development and the environment in Berlin, welcomed this new public private partnership, saying: “This project clearly shows that it is possible to find large companies that are prepared to invest in Berlin and create new jobs. Moreover, the environment will benefit here as these paper-sorting activities will reduce carbon emissions by more than 75,000 tonnes and save the equivalent number of trees found in the Grunewald Forest.”

    The public private facility, which is located on Lahnstraße in Berlin's Neukölln district, is considered to be one of the most modern and innovative of its kind in Germany. Operating in two shifts, this plant sorts and, in some cases, compacts around 130,000 tonnes of waste paper from commercial, retail and industrial businesses as well as from private households every year.

    The paper sorting plant in Berlin is one of the most modern of its kind in Germany

An excellent example

The collaboration between Berlin Recycling and REMONDIS is a further positive example of how public and private sector waste management companies can work together constructively and successfully. WUB Wertstoff-Union Berlin GmbH has established itself as a successful model with a strong future.

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