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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

Recycling is the no. 1 priority

  • Companies looking for green solutions expect industrial cleaning projects to involve recycling as well. A tank cleaning project that is to be carried out at REMONDIS’ branch in the Upper Bavarian town of Oberhausen is a perfect example of how residual materials can be recovered for reuse even when the work is extremely complex and requires stringent safety measures. A tank used for storing a solvent at the site is to be cleaned using innovative technology so that the majority of the residue removed can be recycled.

Processes developed by the company itself

REMONDIS operates a facility at its site in Oberhausen that processes solvents and solvent mixtures so they can be used as a refuse derived fuel (RDF). Having acquired the site last year, an above-ground, fixed-roof tank is now due to be cleaned. Most of the tank’s contents have already been removed with just around 3 metres of liquid remaining. The team’s tasks are now to remove the approx. 1,500m³ of solvent residue safely, to ensure no emissions are released into the atmosphere and to recover as much of the material as possible. To be able to achieve this, BUCHEN has drawn up a plan that requires calling in specialists from a variety of its industrial cleaning divisions.

Separating the liquids from the solids

The first step of this project will involve BUCHEN-ICS homogenising the remaining solvent sludge and pumping it into gas-tight containers. Once this has been completed, FILTRATEC will then take over the residual material and separate it on site into its liquid and solid parts. These experts will be using a mobile ATEX decanter to dewater the sludge, as this equipment enables high volumes of materials to be recovered, guarantees that the whole procedure is safe and ensures no emissions can escape into the air.

Manway Cannon deployed

As nitrogen must be added to the tank for safety reasons, BUCHEN-ICS will be deploying state-of-the-art technology, such as its Manway Cannon system, to carry out the preliminary cleaning work. This automated tank cleaning system uses a cleaning cannon equipped with headlights and a camera. The actual cleaning work is performed remotely with the cannon’s video feed enabling the operatives to follow their progress every step of the way. The tank’s liquid content is used for the cleaning work. Once this step has been completed the liquid is then decanted together with the dislodged material. Using the tank’s content rather than water means much higher recycling rates can be achieved.

Smart concepts and automated processes enable high recycling rates to be achieved during tank cleaning projects.

Once this closed-loop cleaning stage has been completed, the gas will then be removed and BUCHEN UmweltService’s operatives permitted to enter the tank wearing full breathing apparatus. Their job will be to carry out the final cleaning work using, for example, high pressure water jet technology. The used water will then be handed over to REMONDIS so it can process it at its wastewater treatment facility, which is also located at the site.

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