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  • Dear Readers!

    There is good cause for celebration! 30 years of a unified Germany. Or perhaps we should say: ‘30 years of working on a unified Germany’? Seen from a historical perspective, it is certainly true to say that the reunification process has not yet been completed. In fact, looking at Germany’s history, you might well be excused for thinking that this process will never be completed. Each individual region has its own cultural peculiarities, its own dialect, its own sensibilities, its own breed of people. And, of course, their traditional dishes are worlds apart from each other. But that’s the way it should be as it is the differences that create a strong dynamic for change and enrich our culture and economy. Having said all that, we are still quite a young nation. Germany really hasn’t been around that long. Our country – as a federation of states – did not come into being until almost 100 years after the United States of America was founded. And we are all well aware that they are still working hard on unifying their nation.

    We are very grateful that our family-run business has been able to play a constructive role in shaping the reunification process from the start. While criticism continues to be directed towards the Treuhand (the agency responsible for privatising the former East German enterprises) for the way it acted – its focus was often on processing rather than developing – our aim has always been on finding robust, future-oriented solutions by working closely on the ground with the different city and regional authorities. The results speak for themselves – whether it be in the Lausitz region where our public private joint venture WAL Betrieb provides water management services and has kept fees and charges stable and jobs secure for decades now despite the region’s declining population; or in Schwerin, where the public private partnership between the city and REMONDIS has been hugely successful at delivering key services cost effectively. And these are just two examples of many. It was – and continues to be – the amazing personal dedication of the company’s employees in the regions that made it possible for REMONDIS to become a local east German family-run business in these new areas after the wall fell. What’s more, some of the family moved from the Westphalian town of Selm to make their home in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – but this just as a side note. Unity requires active commitment, as does sustainable development. REMONDIS is dedicated to both, always working with the future in mind.

    One thing is certain: there are a lot of things still – or once again – to be done. The recession brought on by Covid-19 is having a dramatic impact on the finances of local authorities. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the cities and districts faced a shortfall of 9.7 billion euros in the first six months of this year. As a comparison: the deficit amounted to just 0.3 billion euros a year ago. The reason for this negative trend was the drastic fall in revenue received by local governments in the second quarter of 2020. The German economy nosedived by 9.7% between April and June – the first time it has ever had to face such a huge drop. Yet another reason then for thinking about how the pressure can be taken off local governments in the future. They don’t have to do everything by themselves – the private sector is happy to help. Public private partnerships are a robust solution for delivering cost-intensive essential services, such as waste management and water management tasks. I and Professor Michael Schäfer, retired professor of public sector economics at the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development, illustrate this very clearly with the help of many examples in one of the books we co-authored – and we don’t forget to mention the negative examples either. As everyone knows, people learn from their mistakes so they can do a better job in the future. And this is precisely what we are doing together with our friends and partners in the not so new states in the east of Germany, in Europe and across the world.

    We hope you enjoy reading this latest issue. Stay safe!

    Yours

    Ludger Rethmann

Recycling a whole range of materials

  • REMONDIS submitted a number of successful bids for a range of waste management services put out to tender across Europe by the Rhine-Erft District, a region situated west of Cologne. The company’s Rhineland team will continue to be responsible for running the ABA waste treatment plant for the next 15 years. Each year, this plant processes 90,000 tonnes of residual waste and 20,000 tonnes of bulky waste. What’s more, RETERRA also handed in the best offer for recycling organic waste in the district.

Protecting the environment in three shifts

ABA’s core business is producing RAL-certified refuse-derived fuels (RDF). Each year, the approx. 30 employees working at the site produce around 45,000 tonnes of RDF from the residual and bulky waste. To make the operations as environmentally friendly and as efficient as possible, the amount of non-recyclable materials is kept to an absolute minimum. The RDF can be used as a substitute for primary raw materials at suitable coal-fired power stations and cement works: each tonne of RDF saves one tonne of CO2 compared to brown coal. A further 10,000 tonnes of RDF is produced from mixed plastics from the neighbouring light packaging sorting plant at the site, which is home to ABA and a number of other facilities. The light packaging sorting plant is also run by REMONDIS.

“Having won the contracts, we will be able to continue to play a significant role in tackling climate change and protecting the environment across the region and secure many jobs in these difficult times.”

Reinhard Hohenstein, Managing Director REMONDIS Rhineland

But that’s not all

RETERRA, a REMONDIS subsidiary, also won a contract during the tender process to recycle 59,000 tonnes of organic waste and 9,000 tonnes of green waste. To win this project, the bidding companies also had to include a concept that enables electricity to be generated from this material. The composting plant, which has been in operation since 1995, will, therefore, now be extended to include both an anaerobic digester and a tunnel composting system so that RETERRA can produce green electricity from the organic waste – actively helping, therefore, to combat climate change. Thanks to this organic waste recycling contract, the future of the site and the jobs of the 26 people working there have been secured for the next ten years. During the tender process, REMONDIS also won a contract to continue running a household waste recycling centre as well as to accept and manage the treatment of old electrical devices and hazardous substances. Around 3,900 tonnes of these materials are collected from the households in the district every year. REMONDIS had been awarded these contracts in the past as well.

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