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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

New tasks

Ongoing growth and development: the company continues to remain true to its motto – as can be seen in Sweden. Once a market that saw the business specialising in the collection and recycling of packaging material, REMONDIS is now also in charge of carrying out kerbside collections of household waste on behalf of local authorities as well as collecting commercial and industrial waste from its business clients.

Responsible for collecting old glass since October

Since the beginning of October, for example, REMONDIS has been responsible for collecting old glass in Stockholm, Västra Götaland and Värmland. Swedish Glass Recycling (Svensk Glasåtervinning / SGÅ) recently extended its long-standing contract to cover these regions as well. As a result, the recycling specialists will collect around 110,000 tonnes of glass each year – approximately 60 percent of the volume of old glass generated throughout Sweden.

  • 110,000 tonnes of glass will be collected by REMONDIS in the future – approx. 60% of the total volume generated in Sweden

Maximum flexibility for the Island of Orust

Östhammar, a coastal district situated 100km north of Stockholm, will also be benefiting from REMONDIS’ years of know-how and expertise in the future. The family-run firm will be in charge of collecting organic and residual waste from this region from 2021 onwards.

REMONDIS, which already provides numerous key services in Sweden, has now taken on a particularly challenging task: carrying out kerbside collections of household waste and collecting and sorting hazardous waste on the Island of Orust. The third-biggest island in Sweden, it is home to around 15,000 local inhabitants and welcomes an additional 15,000 tourists every summer. The special feature of this contract? Some of the households are located on other smaller groups of islands that are not connected by road to the main island. REMONDIS will, therefore, have to use a ship to organise the collection of these recyclables – yet another course is being adopted. The contract begins in February 2021.

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