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  • Dear Readers!

    “We are made wise not by the recollection of our past but by the responsibility for our future.” This piece of wisdom was uttered by the great Irish author George Bernard Shaw and it would certainly appear to be true looking at the challenges that humans are having to face today: the need to protect the environment and prevent climate change, to supply sufficient quantities of food and raw materials but to conserve our planet’s natural resources at the same time. Taking on responsibility for the future means nothing less than acting and doing business in a responsible way today so that future generations have a world that they are able to live in. Being a family-run company that is committed to sustainability in each and every sector it operates in, this is exactly what we intend to do. We have, therefore, added a new slogan to reflect this mission:
    From now on, the REMONDIS logo will appear together with the strapline ‘Working for the future’. This is not some empty promise: every day, the 30,000+ people working for REMONDIS prove this is the case by collecting, sorting and processing recyclables, by ensuring our soils are clean and full of nutrients, by supplying water and treating wastewater, by generating sustainable biogas and energy and by carrying out joint public-private sector work to keep cities clean and roads safe. REMONDIS is, therefore, working for the future right now so that our children and their descendants have urban areas and indeed a planet that are worth living in. The present gives us the opportunity to change – and change is definitely what is needed if we wish to shape the future.

    One example in the Netherlands clearly shows that our neighbours are also thinking of the future. When a Dutch municipal company sells all its commercial activities to REMONDIS, it is certainly worth asking why they decided to do this. In an interview with REMONDIS aktuell, ROVA managing director Hans Groenhuis explains how European public procurement law determines whether a company can be awarded an “in-house contract” and why it is advisable for local authorities throughout Europe to think about giving up their commercial activities altogether.

    Just how satisfied are our public sector customers and what can REMONDIS do to further improve the way it supports local authorities to provide public services? We wanted to hear details here and so we asked them. The results of the customer survey, which was carried out by an independent institute on behalf of REMONDIS, are both encouraging and an incentive at the same time. It is certainly good news when not only our regular customers express their great satisfaction with the company but also the overwhelming majority of our past customers who could well imagine working together with REMONDIS again in the future. We will not, however, be sitting back on our laurels. There is always room for improvement when it comes to serving local inhabitants. REMONDIS will be doing everything in its power to optimise its portfolio and to provide both its contractual partners and those receiving its services with the best possible solutions at fair and favourable conditions. Working for people. Working for the future. 

    I hope you enjoy reading this edition of REMONDIS aktuell.

    Thomas Conzendorf 

Praise from Minister Remmel

  • “You are showing what can be done. You are leading the way. You are better. Today is a good day for the Ennepe-Ruhr district and a good day for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.” Johannes Remmel, NRW Minister for Climate Protection, Environment, Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Consumer Protection, was certainly not sparing in his praise at the official opening ceremony of the new biogas plant in Witten in May 2013. An unusual facility perhaps as the Ruhr region is more well known for coal and other fossil fuels. AHE, a public private partnership between the Ennepe-Ruhr district authorities and REMONDIS, has set an example for the region and beyond with its new state-of-the-art facility that generates biogas from biowaste.

There's a great deal of potential in organic waste

  • Politicians and councillors working in the district of Ennepe-Ruhr had been thinking about future energy and energy supply long before Fukushima and had been looking at what options their local region had. Minister Remmel believes they have come up with an excellent solution of producing electricity from biowaste, such as discarded food, coffee filters and garden cuttings. “There is still a great deal of potential that can be tapped into in this second use of products and materials, at this link between waste and energy. You have shown how such a link can be used. I very much hope that other districts will take a look and see how it is done here in the Ennepe-Ruhr district and then follow your example. It would be great if they did,” Remmel continued. AHE is also a great example of how advantages can be gained when the public and private sectors work together. It would have been practically impossible to find the necessary funds without this successful cooperation work.

    AHE's managing director, Klaus Erlenbach (left), and Norbert Rethmann, honorary chairman of the supervisory board at REMONDIS, showing NRW Environmental Minister Johannes Remmel the compost which is a by-product of the new biogas plant

Millions of bacteria working hard

  • This facility has, in fact, been accepting biowaste from the households in the district and turning it into electricity since the beginning of 2013. The plant, which involved an investment sum of 15 million euros, was built by AHE on behalf of the district authorities and is now being run by AHE, too. Each year, the facility can process around 25,000 tonnes of biowaste to generate 4.5 million kilowatt hours of energy – the annual requirements of 2,000 households. Another positive aspect of this facility is that it helps to protect the environment by cutting carbon emissions by 4,000 tonnes. Besides electricity, AHE also produces classic composts and liquid fertiliser at its site in Witten. Its target groups here are both locals who enjoy gardening as well as large garden and landscaping businesses. The demand for its products has grown steadily over the first year. The busy “workers” in the digestion plant are millions of bacteria. Specific mixtures of biowaste are fed into the facility to keep the bacteria happy and to ensure the plant is run in the most efficient way. Today, 75 kilograms of biowaste are collected per person per year throughout the Ennepe-Ruhr district – hardly any other district can match this. Despite this fact, however, 30 percent of all biowaste, in particular old food, still ends up in the wrong bin, namely in the residual waste bin. If the local inhabitants slightly changed the way they sorted their waste, then their district would be able to generate even more green electricity.

    Biogas, electricity, compost and liquid fertiliser – biowaste is full of potential.

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