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A good three years ago, the City of Minsk and REMONDIS founded the joint venture, SOOO REMONDIS Minsk. A lot has changed in the capital city of the Eastern European Republic of Belarus since then. The services for the local inhabitants there have been greatly optimised as has the system to collect recyclables. The company’s goal now is to grow its business with commercial customers.
REMONDIS Minsk has been set up as a public private partnership: REMONDIS owns 51 percent of the shares and the City of Minsk 49 percent. The company began operating soon after it was established in July 2010 and has now become one of the most important service providers in the region.
To begin with priority was put on improving the equipment so that progress could be made more rapidly. As a result, several million euros were invested in modern vehicles and container systems. Across the city, more than 6,000 old metal bins were replaced with environmentally friendly plastic bins. The company’s fleet of vehicles now contains modern rear end loaders making it far more efficient. This, in turn, has meant that the original fleet could be reduced by one third to just 60 vehicles which are serviced regularly in the company’s own well-equipped workshop. Moreover, these vehicles are now being deployed more effectively thanks to the introduction of new software and the ongoing improvements being made to the logistics processes.
The waste management sector in Minsk has been modernised with an improved fleet of vehicles and over 6,000 eco-friendly plastic bins.
Today, REMONDIS Minsk is responsible for guaranteeing a punctual and reliable waste collection service in three city districts. Around 800,000 inhabitants or approx. 40 percent of the city’s population are currently being served by the company. The volume of material collected has increased by more than 15 percent since its first year of operations. There are two main reasons for this growth: firstly there has been an increase in the number of households joining the system and secondly the range of services has been extended to include commercial customers. All in all, approx. 80 percent of the materials handled by the company are from the municipal sector and 20 percent from the private sector.
At present, REMONDIS Minsk serves 1,200 commercial customers. A new sales structure has been introduced this year to grow the number of customers located both in and around the city. In addition, bespoke services for the construction sector have been added to the company’s portfolio – a business area which should be further extended. With the city council having planned numerous construction projects in and around Minsk, this division has been particularly successful and will continue to grow dynamically.
No matter whether it involves the public or the private sector: right from the very first moment it entered the market, REMONDIS has placed great importance on collecting recyclables. Whilst previous efforts had been made to set up segregated waste collection systems in Minsk and other large towns in Belarus, the majority of these were based on initiatives developed by small private sector firms. REMONDIS Minsk organised seminars and information events for public sector employees and any private individuals interested in this topic. At the same time, work groups were set up at different ministries to discuss the introduction of an effective recycling sector.
One important step has already been made here with the passing of a law at the end of 2012. As a result of this law, producers of sales packaging and businesses placing such packaging onto the market must now pay a charge. The money generated will be used to promote recycling projects. REMONDIS Minsk’s operations also provide an effective system to collect recyclables: each week it empties more than 3,600 recycling bins in the three city districts. Dr Ervin Kurtbedinov, managing director of REMONDIS Minsk commented: “We already operate a press for recyclables and we intend to extend our sorting activities as soon as possible.”