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  • Dear Readers!

    If you look back at the editorial in the last issue of REMONDIS AKTUELL, then you’ll find that the comments made there were almost prophetic. Just one of the topics it mentioned was the droughts in 2018, predicting that we could expect much of the same this year. Here we are, just a few months on, and this prediction has come true. Having analysed empirical evidence and ice cores, the overwhelming majority of climatologists agree that these weather conditions have been caused by industrialised humans – and that they can only be put right by humans. The question here, of course, is how. Most people are focusing on cars, energy generated by fossil fuels and, of course, air travel. Everyone is talking about the electrification of vehicles. You just need to consider the physical facts, however, to realise this will not be easy to implement. Germany’s national grid, for example, would be unable to supply the power needed if all vehicle owners tried to recharge their car batteries at the same time. The question must, therefore, be asked whether electromobility is the right solution. The move towards the electrification of vehicles is well underway though, as is the switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Scientists, however, are predicting that these measures will not be enough on their own. We have another good idea here and one that is practicable – as can be seen by REMONDIS’ daily work. Namely, making the most of the potential of recycling to curb climate change, preferably on a global scale. If humans were to succeed in systematically recovering raw materials and returning them to production cycles and if they were to stop sending waste to landfill (so methane is not produced there), then this would be the third most effective way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Germany made this move back in 2005 when it passed the ‘TASi’ [Technical Directive on the Recycling, Treatment and Disposal of Municipal Waste]. It is high time that a European TASi is drawn up or – even better – a global TASi. We are systematically implementing this law at REMONDIS every single day.

    Looking at the international stage, Russia is intensifying its efforts to reduce the amount of waste it takes to landfill by creating a well-functioning circular economy. The Russian government has launched an initiative that has made it obliga- tory for all 80 Russian regions to appoint a general operator to modernise their regional waste management sector and set up more recycling systems. For many years now, REMONDIS has been running just such a system in Saransk, the capital city of the Russian Republic of Mordovia and – according to a 2010 survey – one of the best cities to live in in Russia. The city is, therefore, acting as a role model, showing the direction that the Russian waste management sector could move in in the future.

    A number of our new apprentices joined the ‘Fridays for Future’ movement when they were at school, calling for more to be done to stop climate change. And so it was a logical decision for them to do their apprenticeship at REMONDIS where they can carve out a sustainable career for themselves, “Every Day for Future” so to speak. REMONDIS’ systematic recycling operations ensure waste is transformed into raw materials, energy and heat and play a considerable role in conserving natural resources and tackling climate change. Welcome to the climate professionals.

    Max Köttgen

Working in Lübeck

‘Take your shoes off!’ is the first thing you hear when you enter Sascha Verch’s cab. “I don’t walk around my living-room at home with shoes on either,” the 38-year-old says with a twinkle in his eye. His brother, father and son all agree with him. They are all truck drivers at REMONDIS Industrie Service’s branch in Lübeck – this is not just a job to them but a passion that they have turned into a career.

From grandfather to grandson

Hans Verch (58) began transporting industrial waste safely around the streets of Schleswig-Holstein 28 years ago. His son Sascha then joined him two years ago, and his second son, Pascal (32), just last year. His grandson Luca (16) started an apprenticeship at the company to train to become a lorry driver this August. Anyone who has kept a close eye on the logistics sector knows that this is something that is very rare indeed. There is a shortage of truck drivers across all industries at the moment.

All four have succeeded in turning their fascination for lorries into a profession.

All four had wanted to become a lorry driver since they were toddlers. And Hans’ father had also worked as a truck driver. Just like their ‘old man’, Hans and his two sons first went into long-haul freight transport. They have seen much of the world since then. Even 16-year-old Luca remembers how, while still knee high to a grasshopper, he sat next to his dad in his cab. Over the years, he has been to every European country except Greece.

No interest in long-haul journeys

“No-one wants to do the job anymore!” Hans says. “Hours sat in traffic jams, overcrowded rest areas and dilapidated shower rooms. And let’s be honest. It is possible to have a family and be a long-haul truck driver but it’s not easy,” he continued. None of them wants to be ‘on the road’ day in day out anymore. “We’re happy where we are. We get to see our family every day, have far more free time and can meet up with friends,” Pascal said, comparing the two. “I meet up regularly with about 30 people nowadays. In the past it was just one,” his brother Sascha added. And, at the end of the day, the money is right, too. In his old job, Pascal spent an extra 150 to 200 euros a month on shower facilities and lorry parks and buying all kinds of fast food. He can now save that money and eat healthy meals as well. “You won’t find me going anywhere else soon,” he concluded.

The fascination of trucks

It is obvious that the lorries they drive are much more than simply a means to do their work. Each has a different way of demonstrating their passion for their truck. Hans, for example, cleans his four walls every single day. He always has a spare pair of shoes and a change of clothes with him so that his cab is always spotless. Sascha and Pascal have gone for a more comfortable look, hanging curtains up on the windows. Luca, who must learn from the passenger seat until he turns 18, intends to be just like them. And their love of their job can be seen in their homes as well. With over 600 model trucks, they have all managed to transport their profession into their living rooms – no dirt, but a whole load of fascination.

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