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  • Dear Readers!

    There have been waste management laws in Germany for over 40 years now. At least once a decade, politicians have made some groundbreaking decisions. The “Deponieverordnung” (Landfill Ordinance), the separate kerbside collection system for waste packaging and the “TaSi”, which bans certain materials being taken to landfill and has been acting as a role model for many countries, are all examples of how they have succeeded in systematically moving the country’s waste management sector away from landfills towards more recycling. These courageous decisions, which more often than not involve large investments, have primarily been implemented by private sector businesses but also by municipal waste management companies. We have reached that crossroads again. Germany has to decide which direction it wishes to move in and just how sustainable it wishes to become. The country’s upper house, the Bundesrat, has instructed the Government to submit a draft bill for a new recyclables law by the end of the year, presenting a unique opportunity for them to catapult German recycling activities into a completely new dimension. It is a well-known fact that waste is a source of raw materials. According to a recent INFA study, a further 95kg of recyclable materials could be collected per person per year. The signals coming from the Ministry of the Environment, however, are not particularly encouraging. Here, they are obviously thinking of limiting this new law to waste packaging and wastes made of similar materials. When recycling bins were first introduced in Germany, they were used exclusively for collecting old sales packaging. The decision to allow them to also be used for waste made of similar materials was made a while ago now and it is estimated that this move would only increase the amount of recyclables collected by an additional 5kg per person per year. At REMONDIS, we believe even this figure to be illusory as our experience from collecting, sorting and recycling the contents of the recycling bins has shown that many people are already throwing wastes made of similar materials to packaging into the bin – an intelligent move even if they are not supposed to do this. If politicians limit the new law to just this area, then it will, for the most part, be completely ineffective. We are, therefore, calling on politicians to act as visionaries and be courageous. Make the most of this unique opportunity and set ambitious collection and recycling rates. This is the only way to ensure Germany has a secure supply of raw materials and that everything possible is done to prevent climate change.

    Developing sustainability in the water and recycling sectors is just beginning in Asia. Materials recycling has been neglected in this region for far too long and has hardly been able to keep up with the exponential growth on the continent. Singapore is now looking to do more in this area. One of the latest projects of the country’s National Environmental Agency (NEA) involves a new facility to process slag from waste incineration plants and recover ferrous and non-ferrous metals at the same time. REMEX is the company responsible for building and operating it. Once again, Singapore is forging ahead and acting as a role model for other densely populated regions in Asia.

    Back in Germany, REMONDIS continues to extend its successful cooperation work with local authorities. The recently founded AWIGO Logistik GmbH is the company’s latest joint venture – a public private partnership between the administrative district of Osnabrück and REMONDIS’ regional company, REMONDIS Nord.

    As always, I hope you enjoy reading about these and the many other topics in this latest issue of REMONDIS aktuell.

    Yours

    Max Köttgen 

More complex sorting processes

For decades now, TSR Recycling GmbH & Co. KG has been one of the main suppliers of the steel industry providing businesses with eight million tonnes of scrap iron every year. Besides operating shears and balers, the Group also owns ten shredder facilities including two mega-shredders (6,000 horsepower). TSR has now set up a new company, REMINE, which will be employing more complex sorting processes in order to improve the way the different materials in the shredder output are separated from each other. Its goal: to efficiently recover more high quality raw materials from residual and/or waste materials.

Electronic components are getting smaller and smaller

The so-called ‘shredder heavy fraction’ (SHF) generated by the shredding process contains valuable non-ferrous metals and is already being successfully processed by TSR with all the metals being sent for materials recycling. Over the last few years, however, the company has observed a general trend towards a miniaturisation of electronic components. There has, for example, been a dramatic increase in the number of very small data cables or compact electric motors built into cars. In some cases, over 100 of these mini-motors are installed in upper mid-range vehicles. As the high quality metals found in these motors weigh so little, they often fall into the ‘shredder light fraction’ (SLF) category.

Improved recycling rates thanks to better sorting processes

REMINE’s aim is to take the metals and plastics in the light fraction, separate them strictly according to type and then ensure that each individual fraction is sent on to the most appropriate processing facility. This is all possible thanks to the technological progress made by the recycling sector. New types of equipment and technology are now available on the market that are able to make more of the materials contained in the shredder light fractions compared to the machines that have been used up to now. At the same time, minimum recycling rates of end-of-life-vehicles (ELV) are to be increased in 2015. The current changes made to the recycling law could mean that the compulsory recycling rates will not be reached unless this new technology is used.

The next challenge: composite materials

Valuable metals are increasingly being replaced by plastics – for example in toys, car interiors and even in temperature critical areas in vehicle engines. Other future challenges will include composite materials such as carbon fibres.

Innovative sorting technology improves recycling processes.

In order to find a solution to these challenges, REMINE GmbH is setting up a completely new type of modular processing facility at TSR’s location in Brandenburg. For the first time, a whole range of different materials will be examined individually and then separated according to their composition. At the end of the day, this kind of recycling is, effectively, a production process which uses its technology to recover the greatest possible amounts of marketable plastics and metals as well as other recyclable fractions. By using state-of-the-art technology, the company will be able to reduce volumes of waste and increase resource efficiency.

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