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  • Dear Readers!

    “I believe in horses. Automobiles are a passing phenomenon.” These are the words said to have been uttered by the German Kaiser, Wilhelm II, at the time when mobility was going through a radical change. No one can say for sure whether he really said this or not but it is a quote that is often used as an example of people badly misjudging the importance of an invention – and not just by futurologists. Today, mobility is once again undergoing a radical change. In some areas of the country, air quality has deteriorated so much that politicians, industrial businesses and consumers are being forced to rethink the way they act, in particular in large cities. The diesel scandal has simply further aggravated the situation. The first councils have begun banning old diesel cars from using the roads where air pollution is highest. At the same time, city planners are focusing almost entirely on creating living space and high quality office buildings. In contrast, tradespeople and commercial businesses, such as recycling firms, are gradually being pushed further and further outside the city. Their work though should continue to be quiet, free of dust and, wherever possible, without CO2 or NOX emissions.

    It’s definitely time to start thinking about possible alternatives. What could be better than using one of the country’s waste streams – i.e. organic waste – as a source of post-fossil fuel and, by doing so, enable waste collections to be carbon-neutral and practically free of fine particulate and NOX emissions? REMONDIS has begun a pilot project near Cologne to do just this and is currently testing six vehicles run on biogas.

    The recycling industry has a new market player: the Schwarz Group (Lidl), which has an annual turnover of EUR 96.7 billion (2017) – bigger than the whole of the German recycling sector put together. Earlier this year, the Schwarz Group’s subsidiary, Green Cycle, purchased Tönsmeier, the fifth-largest recycling company in Germany, acquiring a volume of sales three times bigger than all of the acquisitions made by REMONDIS in 2016 and 2017. Industry experts believe that the Schwarz Group will also enter Germany’s ‘Dual System’ market (kerbside collection of sales packaging) in the not too distant future.

    There is so much happening in the German recycling market at the moment – a market which, according to the “Status Report on the German Circular Economy”, has around 10,800 companies competing against each other. While none of the private sector firms has a monopoly in any area of the waste management and recycling industry, the trend towards councils renationalising waste services continues unabated leading to the creation of regional monopolies. As a result, the private sector’s share of the market is also slowly decreasing. At present, for example, its share of conventional waste collection services lies at around 50% of the overall market. As always, we hope you enjoy reading this latest issue of REMONDIS AKTUELL.


    Thomas Conzendorf

A mega-event involving huge challenges

A total of eleven Russian cities had spent many years preparing for one of the biggest events in 2018. Eight and a half million people travelled to Russia this summer to soak up the atmosphere of the World Cup. To be able to put on such an event, the country first had to set up a new infrastructure – one that also included the whole question of waste management. REMONDIS was also part of this four-week football bonanza with its comprehensive waste collection concept for the stadium and all other World Cup events in Saransk, including the fan parks.

  • Fans proved to be good at separating their waste

    “It was great to see the many thousands of international visitors using the different bins to separate their waste,” commented Swetlana Bigesse, General Director of REMONDIS Russia. REMONDIS is the regional waste management operator responsible for all household waste in the Republic of Mordovia and was also appointed Saransk’s exclusive partner for all waste management matters during the World Cup. An additional 1,000 bins were set up across the city to cope with the increased volumes of waste during the event – including two fan parks and along the roads leading to the stadium. The goal was to make sure that the city remained clean throughout. According to Swetlana Bigesse, this goal was more than met. “The whole system worked perfectly. The thousands of football fans even separated their waste, making sure they threw their different types of waste into the right bins,” she continued proudly. The company had also set up skips and waste compactors around the stadium to make the whole process easier and quicker for the company’s staff.

  • Saransk is leading the way

    Segregating waste is not something that can be taken for granted in Russia as it is here in Germany. A mere eight percent of the people living in Moscow are actually given the opportunity to separate their recyclables and only six percent in St. Petersburg. Most Russians simply throw all their rubbish into one bin which then ends up untreated in landfill.

    Saransk leads the way in Russia when it comes to separating waste. 80% of the local inhabitants have access to an infrastructure enabling them to segregate their different waste streams. This figure lies at just eight percent in Moscow.

    The situation is very different in Saransk, however, where 80% of the local inhabitants are currently able to separate their different waste streams. Which means it is ahead of all the other Russian cities. REMONDIS is certainly one of the reasons for this success. This German waste management firm has been working in Saransk since 2011 where it has succeeded in building up a modern, European system for collecting and recycling waste that also includes ensuring the different waste streams are separated before they are collected. Over the last seven years, the company has set up more than 5,000 bins around the city for the 330,000 local residents and regional companies. What’s more, it has created a modern infrastructure with over 30 new refuse collection vehicles and a recyclables processing plant and started a major PR campaign to grow public awareness about the importance of recycling in other parts of the country as well. REMONDIS Saransk has now been named the official waste management operator for the region and has been awarded a contract to handle waste across the whole of the Republic of Mordovia, which comprises 22 different administrative districts in all. Over 6,000 bins and 30 new vehicles were brought in at the beginning of 2018 to expand the waste management system there, Swetlana Bigesse explained. Thanks to REMONDIS’ work, 250 rural districts within these 22 administrative districts have become part of a modern waste management system for the first time ever this year.


    An additional 1,000 bins were set up across the city during the World Cup

  • “It was great to see the many thousands of international visitors using the different bins to separate their waste.”

    Swetlana Bigesse, General Director of REMONDIS Saransk

Sustainably growing environmental awareness

“People just smiled politely at us when we first mentioned that we wanted to introduce a separate waste collection system in Russia. Now, they are travelling from all over the country to see for themselves just what is possible,” Swetlana Bigesse continued. The spotlight may no longer be on the country now that the World Cup is over but the conditions created for this event and the experience gathered over the four weeks will help to promote sustainability and environmental protection across the country.

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