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  • Dear Readers!

    Many people will be looking at their calendar with a feeling of disbelief that this turbulent year is already coming to a close. 2021 has been a year that will remain in our memories for a long time to come. Here in Germany, the devastating floods that hit the state of Rhineland-Palatinate and parts of North Rhine-Westphalia were a strong reminder that we finally have to up our efforts and take some serious steps to curb climate change. And while the people living in the affected regions are still clearing up the rubble – also thanks to the rapid help from the circular economy – and working to rebuild their lives, the world met in Glasgow to argue about whether or not to phase out coal. At the same time, covid came back again with a vengeance this autumn. Hesitant politicians and organisational failure came up against a waning vaccine immunity and vaccine scepticism among a minority of the population, who seem determined to ignore scientific facts. And, this year was an election year – the end of the Chancellor Merkel era – and a perfect storm had been brewing in a political vacuum as the slow-moving coalition talks meant the new Government could not take up the reins. It is high time that the right course is set – in politics, in the economy and in society.

    Faced with such difficult situations, it is then almost a minor miracle that our family business has – together with and thanks to our partners and customers – had an exceptionally good year. Much of this can be put down to the global economy restarting in the spring after the strict covid measures were provisionally lifted. The flipside of unrestrained production activities and a highly charged global trade, though, soon became evident: a general shortage of raw materials. Anyone trying to build a house and get hold of timber or plastic pipes in 2021 certainly know all about this problem. As the year drew to an end, it was even difficult to get hold of recycling sacks because, being in such high demand, there is a shortage of recycled plastic pellets.  

    Which brings us to the subjects that unite the essence of the two previous paragraphs: climate action and resource conservation. The wide range of services that our company delivers plays a major role in helping to solve the problems mentioned above. By recycling materials, producing renewable energy and offering sustainable services, we are easing both problems at the same time. Each tonne of raw material recycled by our company not only conserves virgin resources but also cuts large volumes of carbon emissions. Along the way, we are also gradually switching over to climate-neutral logistics. Inspired, by the way, as well by our sister company Transdev, which already deploys whole fleets of electric buses in many cities around the world – a role model and an incentive for us to do even more.

    And so there is some good news as well at the end of this eventful year – and we would like to thank you all for the great collaboration work that made this possible. May we also take this opportunity to wish you a happy Christmas and all the very best for the coming year.

    Yours

    Ludger Rethmann

For use as an RDF rather than for hazardous waste incineration

  • The goal is massive and requires many different smart steps: to create a circular economy. REMONDIS took up this challenge many years ago and has continuously been improving raw material recovery rates and doing everything in its power to make sure its various recycling processes have an efficient energy footprint. This is also true for its incineration activities. REMONDIS Medison has now developed a revolutionary method for incinerating highly infectious hospital waste. Thanks to REKOMED, substances that would previously have to be sent to hazardous waste incineration plants can now be transformed into refuse-derived fuel. This can then be used to generate energy in conventional recycling plants.

Highly effective against the Ebola, coronavirus and HIV viruses

  • To achieve this, infectious and highly infectious residual substances are cleansed to such an extent that they no longer fall into the ‘hazardous waste’ category. This highly effective sterilisation process is performed at Lünen using a vacuum steam system that has been approved by the Robert Koch Institute and is even effective against Ebola, coronavirus and HIV viruses. At the end of the process, the now harmless material can be sent straight to the recycling facility at the Lippe Plant to produce electricity and steam.

    Thanks to this procedure, around 5,400 tonnes of hospital waste are currently being used to produce sufficient electricity for around 4,000 4-person households every year. Ulrich Hankeln, managing director of REMONDIS Medison, stressed: “Our REKOMED system is an attractive offering for hospitals and for a large part of their highly infectious waste. Besides having their refuse handled in line with all rules and regulations and receiving all waste management documents, they are also provided with an additional tool at standard market conditions that supplies energy and improves their sustainability footprint.”

    State-of-the-art technology packed up safely. The whole facility has been designed so that the material remains in a fully enclosed system from the moment the bins are handed over all the way through to the final sterilisation stage

“Our REKOMED system is an attractive offering for hospitals and for a large part of their highly infectious waste.”

Ulrich Hankeln, Managing Director of REMONDIS Medison

A safe system, a positive energy footprint

  • The sterilisation procedure and the transformation of the materials from hazardous to harmless takes place in a fully automated enclosed system using a vacuum steam sterilisation process: the bins collected from the hospitals and their waste contents are first cut up in the enclosed system. A screw conveyor then transports the cut up material into the two process tubes. The next step is to remove all the air from the tube so that the actual sterilisation procedure can begin. The material in the process tube is heated up with direct steam.

    With the hot steam reaching a temperature of 138°C, it is able to kill off the infectious bacteria, germs, viruses and spores. Sterilised in this way, the material can be sent for full thermal treatment. At no stage do the staff come into contact with the material. The system is fully encapsulated and the two units can each handle 500kg per hour. The actual process takes around sixty minutes. Using this system improves the hospitals’ carbon footprint. Which is why Ulrich Hankeln underlined REKOMED’s growth potential and its competitive advantage: “Our offering can be used across the whole of the country. We believe that demand will grow as the subject of sustainability becomes ever more important for hospitals – a development that is, in particular, being driven by the owners.”

    Safely packed in the sealed bins, the material is fed into the plant where both the bins and their contents are cut up

Turning infectious waste into climate-friendly energy

    The REKOMED process is a perfect solution for hospitals that are looking for sustainable ways to manage their waste

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