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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

Teaching road safety at primary schools

Members of Dortmund’s police force recently teamed up with REMONDIS and DEKRA to visit primary schools in Lünen and Dortmund and teach the children there about a truck’s blind spot areas. With the help of one of REMONDIS’ skip trucks, the Year 4 pupils were able to see for themselves just how big the areas are that the drivers are unable to see and understand why pedestrians and cyclists should always stay behind rather than next to such vehicles.

Children on the driver’s seat

“As far as I’m concerned, this is a great way to round off our school cycling courses,” explained Rainer Strehl, road safety officer and chief inspector of Dortmund’s police force. “We want to prevent the most vulnerable road users from having an accident, which is why we go straight to the youngest people on our roads to make them more aware of road safety – especially of the dangers posed by lorries,” he added. One after another, the children climbed into the cab of the skip truck to see the blind spots from a driver’s perspective for themselves. They soon discovered that the blind spots were much bigger than they had thought: they were unable to see any of their fellow pupils standing in these areas from the driver’s cab. “This is a huge light bulb moment for the kids and it is essential that they learn all about this as so many of them come to school by bike,” said Ludger Focke, form teacher of class 4b at the Gottfriedschule primary school in Lünen.

Blind spot assist systems for trucks

All of the new trucks that have been ordered by REMONDIS since 2017 are equipped with the manufacturer’s blind spot assist system to prevent fatal accidents. REMONDIS also arranged for one of their vacuum trucks, which has already been equipped with a blind spot assist system, to take part in these road safety events. “It goes without saying that we want the children to see the latest technology as well. Showing them these vehicles up close helps them to get a grasp of what is effectively an abstract problem,” commented Tobias Dornhege, who is in charge of coordinating and purchasing these assist systems at REMONDIS. All of those involved in this initiative have, therefore, made the most of the opportunities available to them to promote road safety and are very pleased with the way it went. “Thanks to this initiative, we have helped to make our roads safer by making even more people aware of lorry drivers’ blind spots – especially when the truck is turning a corner,” concluded Rainer Strehl.

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