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  • Dear Readers!

    Even after just a few months, 2019 is already panning out to be a year full of uncertainty. We are all having to face a variety of challenges. With many of these linked to climate change and the environment, they are automatically affecting the environmental services sector as well. The impact of climate change could be felt all around the world last year with countries being struck by floods, forest fires and drought – and experts are expecting more of the same this year. Both industrial and political decision-makers and consumers across the globe are well aware that urgent measures need to be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – something that has been further highlighted by the young Swedish environmental activist, Greta Thunberg, who has inspired schoolchildren to take to the streets on Fridays to get adults to finally tackle this problem. This will be a mammoth task as it involves nothing less than halting the loss of biodiversity and ensuring there are sufficient supplies of natural resources for future generations. And this is precisely what REMONDIS does by recovering high quality raw materials from waste. Indeed, there is no other individual measure that is so successful at cutting greenhouse gas emissions and conserving natural resources. And this is why we see it as our task to extend the reach of our services and pass on our know-how to others – especially to other countries – to promote resource-friendly recycling activities.

    Our industry is currently undergoing a technological change that will alter the way many things are done. As the world becomes ever more digital, it is inevitable that this technology will have an impact on our everyday lives as well as on the way we do business. The spread of digitisation, however, is creating its own new set of challenges. The political environment in many regions around the world is also changing which could hamper our cross-border efforts to promote sustainable development. This, of course, also includes the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the growing tensions between the so-called superpowers. We need the support of our politicians so that we can make the world that little bit more sustainable – whether it be the implementation of a Europe-wide landfill ban or the creation of an Ecodesign Directive that takes raw material efficiency into account as well as energy efficiency. All in all, the upcoming European Elections will be an important political milestone for Europe.

    REMONDIS is doing its utmost to turn these challenges into opportunities and to navigate through these stormy seas safely. We are marking out the way for sustainable success by investing in technology and growing our portfolio.

    You can find out more about our plans for the future by taking a look through this latest issue of REMONDIS AKTUELL – and discover how our customers can benefit from our strong and stable services in these volatile times. 

    Yours

    Egbert Tölle

A new, innovative concept

  • The District of Unna has been using a new and innovative concept for processing its organic waste and green waste since the beginning of this year. Now that the construction of the new digester facility (in which GWA [Gesellschaft für Wertstoff- und Abfallwirtschaft Kreis Unna] owns a 51% share and REMONDIS a 49% share) has been completed at the Lippe Plant in Lünen, the energy content in the organic waste is now being transformed into combustible biogas before the material is sent on for composting.

A range of advantages

This state-of-the-art plant offers a number of key advantages: three combined heat and power units transform the gas generated by this system into electricity, which can then be fed into the national grid. At the same time, the waste heat helps to keep the fermentation process going and the most can be made of the resulting methane gas without it being released into the atmosphere. At the end of the day, methane gas is 25 times more harmful than CO2 – a fact many people are unaware of. As a result, Bioenergie Kreis Unna GmbH or BKU, the company running the plant, is also helping to curb climate change. But that is not its only advantage: this system should also help cut waste charges as it is expected to reduce costs by 160,000 euros a year.

  • Methane gas is 25 times more harmful than CO2

REMONDIS is the perfect partner

  • GWA had been wanting to transform organic waste into energy for a long while: “It simply wasn’t viable to build and run a digester as we weren’t handling sufficient volumes of organic waste,” explained Andreas Gérard, managing director of GWA. Following a Europe-wide tender, however, GWA found an ideal partner with the privately run recycling, service and water company. “REMONDIS presented us with a robust concept for a site located in the District of Unna,” Andreas Gérard continued.

  • “REMONDIS presented us with a robust concept for a site located in the District of Unna.”

    Andreas Gérard, GWA Managing Director

Generating electricity on a grand scale

  • REMONDIS has used this opportunity to build a high performance digester with a downstream composting plant. Thanks to this new digester, the most can now be made of the energy content in the organic waste so that around 4.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity can be generated. “Old fruit and vegetables and cut grass provide us with the energy we need,” explained Björn Zimmer, who is in charge of the new digester. Such residual materials are fed into the digester and mixed at a temperature of 56°C so that the gas can settle in the upper third of the tank and be extracted.

    • The strong-smelling waste air is fed through a bed of shredded roots, mulch and heather – cleaning it in the best possible way

A perfect example of cascaded use

There is also a recycling solution for the low-energy materials: plant and tree cuttings, leaves and even old Christmas trees end up in one of the seven composting tunnels. Oxygen and heat are added to the material gradually transforming it into compost. “The compost or humus is ready after about two weeks. This is then processed so that it can be used, for example, by farmers and landscaping businesses to improve the nutrient content of their soils,” Björn Zimmer concluded. Transforming organic residue into energy is an excellent addition to REMONDIS’ portfolio of services and further underlines the company’s mission to promote sustainability and tackle climate change. This is also the reason why the company’s composting plant in Lünen is not its only facility to be retrofitted – REMONDIS is currently building innovative biogas facilities at seven other locations as well.

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