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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 

Resource conservation has to be learned

  • For a long time now, humans have been consuming more raw materials than our planet is able to replenish – and demand continues to grow. This means that natural reserves of raw materials are becoming scarcer and scarcer and some will even have run out by the end of this century. Yet raw materials are essential for our lives. They provide us with food, ensure we have light and heat and are needed to produce our everyday goods. We all know that our planet’s reserves of raw materials are limited and so we must learn to handle them in a sustainable way.

Knowing what matters

What exactly is a “raw material shortage”? What has it got to do with the collection of recyclables? It is precisely these questions that are at the core of our educational project, THE RECYCLING PROFESSIONALS. Launched just over a year ago, the project was developed together with experienced teaching specialists and is aimed at kindergarten and school children. Its goal is to make young people more aware of the subjects of recycling waste and the shortage of raw materials, teaching them the most important facts through fun and entertainment.

On tour around Germany

  • This year, the RECYCLING PROFESSIONALS have extended the reach of their mission to save our raw materials and have gone on an “environmental tour” around the country. Stopping off at public events – such as the 19th Festival of the Environment in Berlin, the fairflair in Mülheim, the festival for children and teenagers in Stuttgart and the NRW Day in Bielefeld – the team of experienced teachers have been showing the children which recyclables belong in which bins and why it is so important to segregate waste. At the same time, the RECYCLING PROFESSIONALS try to pass on the message to all those taking part that recyclable materials should be handled responsibly. The subject of recyclables is, therefore, looked into in detail using fun and creative activities.

    The aim of the RECYCLING PROFESSIONALS is to make people more aware about the need to recycle, save our raw materials and prevent climate change.

    The RECYCLING PROFESSIONALS’ circus tent is the place where it all happens. Whether it be a wall building activity, a creative recyclables stand, a recyclables race, the com-pany’s RECYCLING KIDS board game, films about recycling or a singing workshop – everything has been developed especially for children and fits together and complements each other perfectly. 

Not just for children

Lutz Wedegärtner, branch manager of REMONDIS Berlin, was delighted by the RECYCLING PROFESSIONALS’ event in Berlin: “The wide range of activities put on in the RECYCLING PROFESSIONALS’ tent was perfect for families with kids. Everyone was attracted by the mixture of games, workshops and infotainment: the children could take part in the games and learn about the importance of segregating waste and the adults were also able to ask any questions they had about the shortage of raw materials and recycling.” 

A fun way to learn

  • The Berlin branch also took a close look at the “RECYCLING KIDS” board game during the 19th Festival of the Environ-ment in Berlin. Developed by REMONDIS, this award-winning game is great fun to play and teaches children how to separate household waste. The Berlin branch is now planning to introduce the board game to schools in Berlin to continue this mission to save our planet’s raw materials. The RECYCLING PROFESSIONALS’ tour around Germany has proven to be a hit with children and adults alike and it has, without a doubt, achieved its goal of making the visitors more aware of the environment.

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