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  • Dear Readers!

    If truth be told, we had all been hoping that we would no longer have to talk about Covid by spring 2021. Who would have thought that we would be spending a second Easter and a second Ramadan with no end to the pandemic in sight? The longer this situation continues, the more difficult it is to maintain the public and personal discipline needed to fight the pandemic. People are weary. They are fed up with having to go from one lockdown to the next with there being no real prospects of life returning to normal. And while infection rates continue to rise no matter what restrictions are put in place, the country’s normally reliable federalist system is beginning to reveal some weaknesses. Is it really helpful that the measures taken to tackle this global threat are decided on at federal state level? On the other hand, why should public life grind to a halt in a sparsely populated region with a low two-figure infection rate just because the number of people catching the virus is rising exponentially in an area several hundred kilometres away? There are no simple answers but at least we are fortunate to have almost 27,000 ICU beds here in Germany and are better prepared for the situation than many other countries. However, being forced to focus almost entirely on treating Covid patients, hospitals are finding themselves in a difficult financial position – to say nothing of the huge and constant stress levels that the ICU healthcare professionals are having to cope with. At least the Covid measures have led to a dramatic decline in all other kinds of respiratory illnesses. Fortunately, the strict hygiene measures have meant that we have not had to deal with a flu epidemic this year.

    The world tends to view Germans as being both extremely organised and efficient. Some may be reconsidering their opinion, though, looking at the speed – or lack of speed – vaccinations are being rolled out. Which once again brings us back to the subject of using the private sector to deliver essential services. Here, too, many problems could have been prevented right from the start if politicians had taken up the help offered by the private sector to support the vaccination campaign. It can be assumed that an international online ticket seller, one able to sell millions of tickets for rock festivals or worldwide concert tours within just a few hours, would be able to organise online vaccination appointments faster and more efficiently than the overworked local health authorities with their outdated IT systems – and certainly without their website crashing or without them having to develop new software first. Such offers, however, have been taken up by just a few individual public health offices and then only belatedly.

    Are things running more smoothly in the circular economy? This latest issue of REMONDIS aktuell takes a closer look at the differences between rural districts and cities. It is, above all, the rural district authorities that turn to the private sector for help in providing a number of services – both in the circular economy as well as in the area of water and wastewater management. This approach not only promises to deliver the best services at sensible prices. It also has a major impact on how efficient their sustainability efforts actually are. With local authorities facing both an increased financial burden caused by the pandemic and an urgent need to renovate their infrastructure, it is well worth taking a closer look at the situation. 22% of local councillors believe that their local business tax revenue will be at least 10% lower in 2021 than it was in 2019. The majority of district and town councils, 64% to be precise, are planning to increase their local taxes and/or charges. There is certainly room for them to optimise their business operations in the area of cost-intensive key services, such as waste and water management, by systematically putting these services out to tender, extending their PPP arrangements or founding a new PPP company.

    We hope you enjoy reading this latest issue. Stay safe!

    Yours, Ludger Rethmann

Several dismantling centres in Germany

  • REMONDIS Electrorecycling GmbH is building a new facility at the Lippe Plant in Lünen that will be dedicated to dismantling cooling appliances. The company currently operates three WEEE dismantling centres in Germany – at its sites in Lünen, Berlin and Buseck. Recycling discarded cooling appliances is one of REMONDIS Electrorecycling’s core areas of expertise. With its present facility in Lünen having been in operation for quite a while now, the decision was made recently to both modernise and extend it. By doing so, the Lippe Plant will become one of most modern and most important plants for dismantling and recycling fridges and freezers. The new facility is expected to be commissioned during the third quarter of 2021.

32,000 tonnes processed in Lünen alone every year

In 2019, the company collected a total of 86,000 tonnes of cooling appliances, around 60% of which were processed in its own facilities. Its dismantling centre in Lünen, which began operations back in 2006, handles approx. 32,000 tonnes of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) every year. The technology being used to dismantle cooling appliances is no longer up to date and is being stretched to its limits. The plant is, therefore, now to be completely modernised. This step will ensure that it remains competitive in the future, that unnecessary truck journeys are avoided and that all statutory requirements regarding the correct removal and disposal of blowing agents, such as CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) and pentane, are met – all of which will help to curb climate change.

Excellent recycling rates & eco-friendly de-gassing

Once the new facility is up and running, the company will be able to fully recycle a much larger number of appliances using state-of-the-art technology. What’s more, it can expect a growing volume of input material thanks to the Lippe Plant and the infrastructure it offers. Located on the edge of the Ruhr region and within the catchment area of the Netherlands, the Lippe Plant – Europe’s largest industrial recycling centre – receives a continuous flow of materials that are transformed into high quality recycled raw materials using climate-friendly technologies.

The small appliance recycling operations will be relocated to Eindhoven when the fridge/freezer dismantling plant in Lünen is modernised and extended.

A new plastics processing plant was also built next to REMONDIS Electrorecycling’s dismantling centre in Lünen in 2019 – reducing transport requirements and enabling the very most to be made of the raw materials recovered from the cooling appliances. With a capacity of ca. 20,000 tonnes a year, the new fridge/freezer recycling plant in Lünen will be the most modern of its kind in Europe and will achieve excellent recovery and recycling rates. One special feature of the facility will be a novel special matrix to degas the appliances using mixing units – a particularly environmentally friendly method. This technology has already been installed at REMONDIS’ dismantling centre in the French city of Troyes and both WEEE experts and inspectors have been delighted with the high volumes of materials that can be recovered for reuse. This modernisation measure reflects the ongoing further development work being carried out at REMONDIS’ Lippe Plant, underlining its status as the biggest and most modern industrial recycling centre in Europe.

No empty runs between Eindhoven and Lünen

The modernisation of the WEEE recycling plant in Lünen will also see its dismantling line for small electronic appliances being taken apart so that it can be installed at the company’s new facility in Eindhoven. Lorries transporting such small appliances to Eindhoven will bring back fridges and freezers collected via the Dutch Wecycle scheme to Lünen to keep transport requirements as low as possible.

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