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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

German technology for the Russian market

The newly founded Environment and Waste Management Work Group (whose focus is on subjects such as waste segregation, waste collection and recycling) had their inaugural meeting in Moscow on 27 June. Their goal: to help ensure that the reforms that Russia is making to its waste management sector are a success and to promote the use of German technology on the Russian market. The group is headed by Swetlana Bigesse, managing director of REMONDIS’ Russian subsidiary. Tatiana Mazidowski, vice-president of the Intertechelectro Group, has been appointed her deputy. They have a lot of work ahead of them.

Modernising the waste management sector

  • In February 2019, the Russian government issued a decree that has led to the foundation of the public sector organisation “Rossijsij Ekologitcheskij Operator” (Russian National Environmental Operator). The Government has commissioned this organisation with the task of modernising the Russian waste management sector and ensuring that the reforms set out in the 2015 Federal Waste Management Law are implemented effectively. This work includes, for example, coordinating all the so-called ‘regional waste management operators’ and building new waste treatment plants. Moreover, the waste management sector should be completely restructured – from the way the materials are stored and collected all the way through to how they are treated – so that the country’s biodiversity can be preserved and healthy natural spaces restored. These regional waste management operators are responsible for all waste management services from transport, to processing, to recycling – or if this is not possible – managing municipal household waste. Those living in the regions are obliged to use their local operator’s services – similar to the system that has been used in Germany for many years now. 160 regional operators have already been selected in 65 of Russia’s 85 regions. The cities of Moscow and St Petersburg are excluded until 2022 and a number of other regions have been given a year’s extension.

    • Mayor of Düsseldorf Thomas Geisel (left) and Swetlana Bigesse (2nd right) with members of the Russian delegation in Düsseldorf

Russian delegation visits the Lippe Plant

  • “Rossijsij Ekologitcheskij Operator” has been given a budget of one billion euros (taken from the public purse) and will act as the public sector partner in public private partnership projects. The Government is hoping that private investors will inject a further three billion euros into the project. REMONDIS welcomed the managing director of the organisation and his three deputies during their three-day visit to Germany at the end of May showing them how a modern recycling sector can be run. The Russian delegation toured a number of sites, taking a tour around REMONDIS’ Lippe Plant and meeting representatives of Duales System Deutschland GmbH and the Mayor of Düsseldorf, Thomas Geisel. These discussions with the director of the Russian National Environmental Operator were then continued when representatives of REMONDIS travelled to Moscow in June. Many Russian delegations and NGOs, such as Greenpeace Russia, have also been travelling to the capital of the autonomous Republic of Mordovia, Saransk. There, with REMONDIS’ help and know-how, the city has already implemented what the Government in Moscow wishes to see across the whole of Russia: a well-functioning circular economy with segregated waste collections.

    • Swetlana Bigesse at the inaugural meeting of the “Rossijsij Ekologitcheskij Operator”

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