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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

New offering fills a gap

  • No matter how small the volume of hazardous waste may be, it must, of course, be disposed of in an environmentally friendly way and in compliance with all rules and regulations; that goes without saying. However, this has been a difficult issue for companies: if they are not allowed to or do not wish to store dangerous substances on their premises, then they must find a legally compliant waste management solution which also includes a collection service. Such services have been hard to come by – some of them only handle specific types of materials and none of them offers a nationwide network. REMONDIS has now successfully closed this gap on the market by launching MIXX-TOUR that involves a specialist fleet of vehicles which will gradually be expanded as demand grows.

Customers unable to store the materials themselves

The demand for such a service has been fuelled by the ever stricter requirements being placed on commercial businesses regarding the storage and transport of their hazardous waste. All too often, firms find themselves no longer able to store the materials on site as the costs of fulfilling the statutory requirements are simply too high. This is especially true for firms that have a large number of branches or operate mobile service units. Transporting dangerous substances in a company van can be a problem as the vehicles are generally not properly equipped to do this. Some businesses look at setting up their own in-house logistics chain to store the hazardous waste at a central site so that it can be handed over in one go to a waste management business at a later date. Such plans, however, are often unable to be implemented because of the statutory regulations and restrictions – something that standard logistics providers and parcel delivery firms are also subject to.

Find out more about the service at mixx-tour.de

This problem has now been solved with MIXX-TOUR: this service has been set up by REMONDIS Medison in cooperation with REMONDIS Industrie Service, which is in charge of treating the materials. Thanks to this successful collaboration, MIXX-TOUR can provide the logistics chain needed to enable a wide range of materials – no matter how small the volume – to be picked up from commercial customers at short notice. All substances are transported in compliance with the ADR (i.e. in accordance with the regulations determining the safe transport of dangerous goods) and disposed of in an environmentally compatible way. Proof of this is, of course, provided as well.

“We have tied a few ends together at REMONDIS and can now deliver exactly what is needed.”

Michael Micke, Head of the MIXX-Tour division

Safely collected, safely treated

MIXX-TOUR collects a whole range of different substances. These include old paint and varnish, lithium ion batteries, plastic dust sheets from painter and decorator businesses, aerosol cans, used solvents, old oil, oil-contaminated liquids, filter media, packaging containing dangerous residual contents, WEEE, batteries, fluorescent tubes, medicines, identifiable chemicals and other materials. Besides using the service for individual collections, which can simply be requested by email once an offer has been received, companies also turn to MIXX-TOUR to have a decentralised collection service that enables all hazardous substances to be picked up from their fieldwork teams or their network of branches. This means they do not have to use their own vehicles to transport the dangerous substances, considerably reducing the amount of red tape they have to deal with.

Materials collected according to customer wishes

  • The MIXX-TOUR’s steadily growing fleet can pick up the hazardous materials either as a regular service or on demand. The trucks can be found across Germany so that the company can react quickly to their customers’ requirements and wishes. What’s more, REMONDIS Medison’s other trucks are also available if needed. A small logistical masterpiece has, therefore, been set up to enable MIXX-TOUR to be offered. The local branches serve their customers in their region, systematically providing them with the logistics they need. An additional downstream logistics system has also been organised to collect the materials from the branches and transport them to REMONDIS Industrie Service’s treatment facilities across Germany. Indeed, this part of the logistics network has had to expand considerably in recent months to keep up with demand.

    Michael Micke, who is in charge of this new service, commented: “While the demand for such a user-friendly service is perhaps not new, we have now succeeded in coming up with a smart solution that works for both our customers and us. We have tied a few ends together at REMONDIS and can now deliver exactly what is needed.”

    • The MIXX-TOUR team can collect, for example, old varnish, lithium ion batteries, aerosol cans, used solvents, old oil, packaging containing dangerous residual contents, WEEE, fluorescent tubes, medicines and many other small volumes of materials

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