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  • Dear Readers!

    The refugee crisis, caused by the war in Syria, has awakened Europe from a deep slumber. Individual member states are outdoing each other – introducing one uncoordinated measure after another as they attempt to stem the seemingly never-ending flow of people desperately seeking help. Whilst Chancellor Merkel is hoping to bring about a European solution, others are closing their borders and seriously thinking about exiting the European Union. No matter where you look, people are saying the party is over. It is time now for facts rather than emotions to be brought to the table. Germany has around 81 million inhabitants and its economy has never been so good. Approximately one million refugees had entered the country when the state elections were held in Baden-Württemberg, Saxony-Anhalt and Rhineland-Pfalz on 13 March. To use the same metaphor: if 81 people are invited to a party and they are joined by one international guest, then the party is by no means over. On the contrary, there is a great opportunity here for the new guest’s culture, experience and vitality to enhance the event and make it even more interesting. 

    As Germany’s population continues to fall, demographers are assuming that the country will need around 500,000 new immigrants every year simply to keep its social security system functioning. In the future, therefore, we may find ourselves being grateful each time a migrant decides to stay and do an apprenticeship in our country. What is needed is genuine integration. The Minister for Labour, Social Affairs and Inclusion in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Rainer Schmeltzer, recently published a brochure in four languages so that refugees could find out how the public transport system works in the district of Unna. Whilst talking to one of REMONDIS’ board members, he called on the recycling sector to do something similar. The majority of the migrants have little or no experience of using different coloured bins to separate waste. REMONDIS has stepped up to the mark and published a flyer in German, English, French, Farsi and Arabic. We would also be very pleased to receive applications from registered refugees wishing to do an apprenticeship at our company, for example to become a professional truck driver. 

    If the state of North Rhine-Westphalia were to be a country in its own right, then it would be among the top 10 European nations when it comes to population figures and economic power. The latest waste management report shows that our industry has become one of the biggest drivers of growth. Whilst traditional industries, such as coal, steel and energy, continue to decline, an ever increasing number of people are working in recycling, industrial and municipal services and water management. REMONDIS is both a driving force and the backbone of this really pleasing development. And what makes REMONDIS what it is, is its 32,000 employees who work for their local inhabitants and their municipal and industrial customers in 33 countries every single day. Looking at all this, it is a shame that politicians would appear to be paying so little attention to the IFAT exhibition which is being held in Munich from 30 May to 03 June. REMONDIS is going to be there even if the Federal Minister of the Environment is not. We look forward to seeing you there!


    Ludger Rethmann

Annual biogas production: 4.7 million cubic metres

  • The biogas plant owned by RETERRA Freiburg GmbH, a fully owned subsidiary of REMONDIS South Region, was first commissioned in 1999. From here, RETERRA processes around 32,000 tonnes of organic waste from private households on behalf of the City of Freiburg and the District of Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald. Moreover, it also recycles small volumes of organic waste from commercial businesses. The plant uses state-of-the-art technology and produces 4.7m cubic metres of high quality biogas every year. The majority of the biogas is transported by pipe to the combined heat and power (CHP) plant run by Badenova in Freiburg-Landwasser where it is transformed into electricity. The waste heat generated by this process is captured and used to heat the district of Freiburg-Landwasser. The remaining biogas is turned into electricity and heat by the CHP plant on RETERRA’s Tullastraße site. Those living in Freiburg, therefore, have one of the most efficient organic waste digestion systems around.

The highest levels of energy efficiency

All in all, the biogas produced by RETERRA-Freiburg GmbH generates approx. 10,000,000 kWh of eco-friendly, carbon-neutral electricity. This is sufficient to cover the requirements of around 3,000 homes in the city and is helping the region to achieve their goal of switching over to renewable energy. The way biogas is used in Freiburg-Landwasser is extremely energy efficient and is becoming a role model thanks to the way it combines biogas, landfill gas and bio natural gas. “RETERRA Freiburg’s ongoing supply of gas to the district of Landwasser has been an important component of the council’s strategy to reduce its carbon footprint ever since the plant was commissioned in 2011,” explained Freiburg city councillor Gerda Stuchlik who is responsible for environmental matters. The agricultural industry continues to benefit from the approx. 13,500t of liquid digestate generated by the biogas plant every year. This saves the farmers having to buy in large quantities of mineral fertiliser and helps protect the region’s soils and rivers. The additional 8,500t of compost are sold from the site to local residents, gardening and landscaping businesses as well as to farmers. 

  • “RETERRA Freiburg’s ongoing supply of gas to the district of Landwasser has been an important component of the council’s strategy to reduce its carbon footprint ever since the plant was commissioned in 2011.” 

    Gerda Stuchlik, Freiburg city councillor responsible for environmental matters

Diverse improvements & investments

  • Large sums of money have been invested in the site over the last few years to ensure it meets all technical and legal requirements. Besides switching a number of individual machinery components, the company has also had a new storage hall built as well as a large silo that is able to hold 4,000m3 of liquid digestate. Moreover, the work to extend the offices and staff rooms and to convert the delivery chutes has been completed as well.

    Ongoing investments in the site ensure the plant reaches the highest possible levels of efficiency – and that it fully complies with the Federal Renewable Energy Act.

    The latest highlight of this investment project is the completion of the new curing area including an additional tunnel composting system and new technology to process the compost. The solid material left over after the digestion stage will now be stabilised in fully enclosed, climate-controlled composting areas. Once the treatment stages have been completed, the finished product will then be processed into high quality compost using the new screening machinery. “We have, therefore, been able to further improve the quality of the compost,” commented REMONDIS managing director, Aloys Oechtering. “Soil improvers from biogas plants are rich in nutrients and are perfect for gardening and landscaping businesses.” Now that all the new technology has been installed, the site meets all of the requirements set out in the ‘EEG’ (Federal Renewable Energy Act).

    RETERRA produces clean energy and top quality compost in the city itself. Our thanks go to all those living in Freiburg who have welcomed this facility as being an important part of its Green City

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