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Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), Dr Barbara Hendricks, was welcomed to REMONDIS’ Lippe Plant, Europe’s largest industrial recycling centre, on Friday, 17 February 2017. Accompanied by senior civil servant Dr Thomas Rummler and German MPs, Sylvia Jörrißen and Michael Thews, the minister first toured the plant in Lünen to see the wide range of technology and recycling operations for herself before meeting with REMONDIS managing directors to discuss the future of the recycling sector in Germany and Europe.
Their talks focused on a number of areas including introducing ecodesign guidelines for manufacturers and improving current legislation to increase the volume of recyclables collected in Germany – two key factors for making recycling even more efficient in the future. Looking at the exponential growth of the world’s population, it will become increasingly important to close product cycles and recover the raw materials for re-use to ensure there are sufficient supplies of raw materials in the future. If the most is to be made of this potential and consumers are to continue to have access to affordable and eco-friendly products, then politicians need to initiate far-sighted legislation. The idea of introducing ecodesign guidelines – i.e. regulations that would make it obligatory for producers to design their products so that preferably all of the raw materials in them can be recovered and reused – was discussed as a medium-term political goal.
This opportunity was also used to talk about the latest legislative changes and to suggest how they might be improved. The fact, for example, that the latest draft bill regulating the use of fertilisers actually puts compost that does not cause water pollution – and that is so important for our soils – in a worse position than slurry would not appear to be the most effective way of protecting our lakes and rivers. REMONDIS believes there is room for improvement here. During the press conference following her visit, the Federal Environment Minister praised the role REMONDIS was playing here – showing others how modern legislation can be used to promote recycling and create jobs to grow sustainable development in Germany.
The minister spoke out in favour of having modern legislation that promotes both recycling and sustainable development
Herwart Wilms, Managing Director REMONDIS Assets & Services GmbH & Co. KG (right), welcomed Federal Environment Minister Dr Barbara Hendricks (3rd from left) and German MPs, Michael Thews and Sylvia Jörrißen (from left to right) to the Lippe Plant in Lünen