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  • Dear Readers!

    The summer break has come to an end and people are gradually returning to work – as are the MPs in Berlin. Once again, environmental politicians are focusing on the subjects of waste management and recycling. The coalition agreement, signed by the Government in 2013, gives great importance to curbing global warming and using our planet’s natural resources efficiently and also expressly states that innovations that protect the environment, prevent climate change and preserve resources are also opportunities for economic growth. Industry specialists are well aware, however, that economic growth and more innovations are only possible if there are clear framework conditions in place that guarantee fair competition, if product responsibility is extended and if recycling targets are raised. The latter, in particular, can only be implemented if the necessary legal framework has been established so that joint kerbside collection schemes for packaging and other recyclables can be set up.

    Unfortunately, the latest draft bill for the new packaging law has failed to deliver what many had been hoping for. What we seem to have here is the eighth amendment to the Packaging Ordinance rather than a genuine recyclables law. Whilst there are a few positive approaches to remedying the current deficiencies, it does not deal with the question of whether waste made of similar materials to packaging should also be collected in recycling bins. The increased recycling targets are well below the volumes that could actually be recovered from household waste. According to the latest studies, an additional 7.8 million tonnes of raw materials could still be collected which in turn would reduce carbon emissions by a further 1.6 million tonnes. Moreover, the need for fair competition and a level playing field between the private and public sector companies has not been tackled in the draft bill either. And there is practically no mention of introducing effective ecodesign guidelines that would force manufacturers to think about how their products could be recycled when actually designing them. We must wait and see whether this draft bill actually becomes law. The private recycling sector believes that a number of improvements need to be made to the bill. Time is running out, however, with the general election coming up next year.

    REMONDIS demonstrates just what can be done with waste and how the very most can be made of these materials to curb climate change and protect the environment – such as at its Lippe Plant in Lünen. The efforts being made by the company here were officially recognised recently when KlimaExpo.NRW (a cross-departmental initiative of the state government of NRW to prevent climate change, conserve resources and achieve sustainable economic growth) added three of the Lippe Plant’s areas of expertise to its list of the twelve best projects in North Rhine-Westphalia. At this site, industrial and household waste is recycled and turned into primary products for industrial businesses, waste and residual materials are transformed into fuels and, last but by no means least, biomass is recycled or used to generate energy. These three areas of expertise alone reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 416,000 tonnes every year – and are, therefore, getting as close as technically possible to achieving fully closed cycles. The Lippe Plant flagship project is becoming ever more effective. It is high time that this model becomes the norm so that future generations also have a planet worth living on.


    Thomas Conzendorf

Initiative set up by the Federal government & trade associations

  • Growing energy efficiency at companies – this is the aim of an initiative set up by the Federal government, trade associations and German business organisations. The goal: to work together to create around 500 energy efficiency networks across the country by 2020. LWG has also joined in. REMONDIS Aqua’s PPP has become a member of the Cottbus municipal energy network where it is looking to drive sustainability and help prevent climate change.

The common goal: to curb climate change

One of the main tasks of these networks is to increase energy efficiency levels at industrial, trade, retail and commercial businesses. Around 50 such networks have already been set up including KEN Cottbus (Cottbus municipal energy network), of which LWG Lausitzer Wasser GmbH & Co. KG has become a member. The company introduced an energy management system in line with DIN ISO 50001 into its business in 2014. This system helps give a clear picture about energy consumption and reveals where savings can be made.

LWG Lausitzer Wasser GmbH & Co. KG is the market leader for supplying water and treating wastewater in the Lausitz region.

The members of KEN Cottbus meet regularly to discuss effective initiatives that might cut energy consumption and curb global warming. LWG is able to contribute here as one of the PPP’s key policies is to find and implement measures to prevent climate change. This Brandenburg-based company, for example, had a photovoltaic system installed at its Cottbus-Sachsendorf waterworks in 2013 – a move that has cut its annual electricity bill by approx. 30 percent. Last year, the plant was linked up to three new raw water booster pumps that are primarily run on solar electricity. In addition to this, LWG has also been generating storable biogas at its Cottbus sewage treatment plant since 1995. This gas is used to produce electricity and heat in combined heat and power stations as and when required.

  • The photovoltaic system installed at LWG's Cottbus-Sachsendorf waterworks in 2013 has cut its annual electricity bill there by approx

Many groups attracted by this initiative

KEN Cottbus currently has 18 members including a clinic, Cottbus zoo and the local public transport company. 13 of them are to have energy audits (in line with DIN EN 16427) carried out at their business premises. This joint initiative can help out here, too. “The regular meetings are really important as they enable the members to exchange ideas and experiences and support each other to implement measures,” explained Ralph Grohmann, who hosts the KEN Cottbus get-togethers. And this nationwide initiative to help prevent climate change is proving to be effective. The latest results show that the network companies have, on average, reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 1,000 tonnes CO2 and increased their energy productivity twice as fast as the industry average.

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