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  • Dear Readers!

    Equal opportunities are a tricky subject. It goes without saying, of course, that we believe all children should have the same opportunities to give them a fair start in life – no matter where they may be born. Indeed, we would consider it to be highly unfair if it weren’t the case. When it comes to equal opportunities in the waste management industry, however, Germany has created a seriously unfair competitive situation that is not only inefficient but also a financial burden for taxpayers and the private sector. The issue here is value added tax (VAT). Municipal companies are exempt from charging VAT and so have a price advantage of up to 19% over their private sector competitors. Whilst privately run firms are subject to VAT laws, municipal businesses are not – even though they provide exactly the same service. The results: privately owned companies are being pushed out of the market by state-owned monopolies, private sector jobs are being put at risk, revenue from business tax and VAT is falling, which, in the end, impacts negatively on local authorities. A recent legal report published by Professor Roman Seer from the Institute for Tax Law and Tax Procedure Law at the Ruhr University in Bochum has revealed that this system is in breach of the law – with consumers paying a heavy price.

    Rhenus Recycling has now become REMONDIS Recycling – an excellent addition to REMONDIS’ portfolio. All glass, plastics and textile recycling activities are now in the hands of the recycling specialists REMONDIS. Thanks to this move, the company’s customers will benefit from an even bigger and more closely knit network of recycling locations. The deposit return system for managing the return of drinks bottles and cans is also part of this portfolio and will also be run under REMONDIS’ name in the future. One of the reasons why German consumers do not need to return bottles to the supermarket they actually bought them from is because REMONDIS Recycling operates seven counting centres for disposable bottles across the whole of Germany and offers a reliable IT system with comprehensive billing services for food retailers and industrial businesses. Welcome to REMONDIS.

    It is extremely important in these turbulent times for companies to be aware of their social responsibilities. This is perhaps a little easier for REMONDIS being a provider of recycling services as it has an excellent sustainability record and can offer 33,000 people a permanent job – but there is always more that can be done. Whether it be investing in educational projects such as the RECYCLING PROFESSIONALS, helping to make children more traffic aware to keep them safe on our roads or donating a vacuum truck to improve living conditions at a refugee camp in Iraq. REMONDIS and all its employees work hard each and every day to make our world that little bit better. Maybe this was the reason why 632 young people have chosen to start an apprenticeship at our company this year – ‘working for the future’. A very big welcome to all our new colleagues at REMONDIS.

    Yours

    Max Köttgen

Helping the charity organisation, Flüchtlingshilfe Essen

  • One of the strategies that is often put forward as a possible solution to the current refugee crisis is to tackle the problems in the countries where the people are staying so that they don’t need to move on in the first place. Besides combatting poverty, this also means improving the living conditions of those people who – while they have been forced to flee their homes to escape war and persecution – would prefer not to travel to Europe but stay as close as possible to their homeland. More often than not, this involves focusing on supposedly mundane matters such as hygiene in the refugee camps which literally appear overnight. The “Ruhrgebiet Refugee Camp” [Flüchtlingsdorf Ruhrgebiet] is run by the Caritas Flüchtlingshilfe Essen, a charity organisation set up to help refugees, and is already doing an excellent job. What they needed, however, was a vacuum truck to improve hygiene at the camp. REMONDIS was able to help out here with a donation.

Off to Kurdistan

On 17 May, Thorsten Feldt, a managing director at REMONDIS, presented Caritas Flüchtlingshilfe Essen (CFE) with a vacuum truck that was fully functional and in a very good condition. Its destination was the “Ruhrgebiet Refugee Camp” in the autonomous region of Kurdistan in the north of Iraq. At the beginning of 2015, CFE began setting up container homes for Yazidi refugee families on a developed area of land. Since then, CFE have delivered over 100 container homes thanks to donations from local authorities, firms and private individuals from the Ruhr region. These and a further approx. 1,700 container homes from other organisations now give the refugees a place where they can live in decent conditions. CFE has also organised two bazaars for tradespeople (with over 60 shops) to provide work for those living in the camp. Moreover, it has been collaborating with the German company GIZ (Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) to set up two schools and a small hospital, with all the furnishings having been supplied by CFE. Construction work is currently being carried out on a youth centre, a vocational training centre and a small advisory centre for people traumatised by their experiences. What’s more, a sports ground is being built so that the more than 5,000 children and adolescents living there have somewhere to do sport.

  • “Besides helping the refugees living here in Germany
    to integrate into society and find jobs by supporting
    apprenticeship initiatives, we are really pleased to be able to make this small but important contribution towards improving living conditions on the ground in Iraq.”

    Thorsten Feldt, REMONDIS Managing Director

In action to improve hygiene

What had been missing, however, was a vacuum truck that was robust enough to cope with the dusty conditions there. REMONDIS has now donated a twenty-tonne vacuum truck so that faecal matter and wastewater can be removed – a vital task to maintain hygiene levels at the camp. The camp management team had put in a request for such a truck many times and CFE found a sympathetic ear at REMONDIS. The Mayor of Essen, Thomas Kufen, who had also been championing this cause and had travelled to Iraq with CFE last year, attended the event in Essen to see the truck being officially handed over. It is already being used at the refugee camp having made its own way there via Turkey – the only time it wasn’t being driven was when it took the ferry from Trieste to Mersin.

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