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REMONDIS’ rapid expansion in Central and Eastern Europe began in Poland back in 1992. New laws passed in the country last year have pushed forward the government’s goal to make waste management and recycling in Poland more environmentally friendly: local Polish authorities are now obliged to achieve much higher recycling rates. Over the years, a number of REMONDIS projects have become role models for other regions indicating that these latest changes to the Polish recycling market could further strengthen the company’s position on the market.
REMONDIS signed its second public private partnership agreement with a Polish municipality in 1993; over 20 years on, it has proven to be a driving force for progress and innovation: today, the 180 employees working for the public private company in Szczecin have a new head office and state-of-the-art facilities and continue to promote modern recycling activities wherever they can. Situated in the north west of Poland, this port city has a new sorting facility for recyclable materials and a plant producing refuse derived fuels, demonstrating, therefore, what the rest of the country should be doing soon: increasing recycling rates of municipal recyclable and residual waste.
Another state-of-the-art recycling project can be found around 450 kilometres further south east in the Polish city of Opole where a tunnel composting plant has been built alongside the existing household waste sorting and recycling facilities. This joint venture between the city council and REMONDIS has, therefore, invested in modern technology enabling its compostable waste to be organically recycled: an intelligent system, comprising 20 tunnel sections, conveyor belts, biofilters and other pieces of equipment, which reduces the volume of residual waste by up to 40 percent – and limits the amounts of methane gases and carbon dioxide that are released into the atmosphere. The plant in Opole, therefore, reflects REMONDIS’ aspiration to establish integral and sustainable solutions. A trend that is now gradually emerging right across the country.
Each year, at least 2,000,000 tonnes of waste in Poland is disposed of incorrectly – and so is unable to be recycled.
Since entering Poland in 1992, REMONDIS has expanded and strengthened its position on the water and recycling markets year on year: today, the company has around 2,400 employees working at 43 different locations around the country who together ensure that over 560,000 tonnes of recyclables and raw materials are recovered every year. Since 2011, REMONDIS Poland has been managed from its new head office building in Warsaw: built according to the so-called “passive house” standards, this investment is testament to the fact that the company is well and truly established on the market – and that it wishes to implement sustainability at absolutely all levels of its business.
Well known for its innovations and high quality services, REMONDIS is well positioned to take on any challenge it might have to face. New regulations regarding the handling of recyclable and residual waste have been in force in Poland since July 2013. These stipulate that municipal waste is now the property of the city and district authorities. This, in turn, means that the local authorities are responsible for processing and recycling the waste – which should lead to a clear increase in recycling rates over the next few years. There has, without a doubt, been much progress made in the area of environmental protection in Poland since the collapse of the Iron Curtain. There is, however, still a great deal for the country to do before it catches up with EU standards: according to the Polish Ministry for the Environment, 78 percent of recyclable and residual waste ends up at landfill sites, 600 of which are legal – many of the areas used for dumping waste, however, are not. The dubious practice of offering waste collection services at discount prices is to come to an end to protect the environment.
Sustainable solutions are in high demand in Poland as the recycling market there continues to undergo change. REMONDIS is able to make the most of its expertise here.
It is obvious what the Polish government is trying to do: the network of high quality recycling systems in the country should be expanded so that there is an effective and sustainable recycling sector in all parts of Poland. At present, only 14 percent of municipal waste is recycled, seven percent composted and only one percent treated thermally to produce energy. This situation should change; more material life cycles must be closed. Polish local authorities have been given clear instructions: they must be recycling at least half of all their conventional household waste by 2020. Wherever possible, non-recyclable materials should be used to generate heat and electricity: numerous thermal treatment plants are currently being planned across the country, many of which are to receive EU funding.
Local inhabitants and the environment gain the most from Poland’s improved waste management sector and its higher standards – but companies which have the necessary environmental know-how and are able to cope with the increasing demands can also benefit. Despite the steady growth experienced by the leading companies, such as REMONDIS, the Polish waste logistics market remained highly fragmented with up to 4,000 firms offering their services. A law passed in 2012 made it obligatory for local authorities to use transparent public procurement methods and to award an exclusive contract to one company for districts with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants; contracts should be awarded for each waste fraction in larger districts. There is, therefore, a greater demand for individual providers able to offer extensive expertise covering a whole range of logistics and waste management services.
Recycling activities from just one company: REMONDIS is able to offer its public sector partners an integral range of services.
The Polish waste management market was worth approx. 1.2 billion euros in 2012 and it is expected to enjoy annual double-digit growth over the coming years. To be able to benefit from this growth and to play a role in the public sector, a company should have a wide range of services as well as comprehensive know-how and expertise. REMONDIS not only operates in the cities but also works together with small municipalities providing them with bespoke solutions to cover their needs: thus, for example, the District of Drobin and its approx. 3,000 local inhabitants now have a fully automated waterworks, a reliable residual waste collection service and their green spaces are regularly maintained by the company.
The public private partnership model has proven to be a great success in Drobin as it has in many other regions. Moreover, REMONDIS is also making public sector history as a privately run contractor: for example in Poznan and the Wielkopolska Voivodeship. Here the extensive range of services provided by the Polish company, REMONDIS Sanitech Poznan, is not only used by 500,000 local inhabitants but also by industrial, commercial and retail businesses. This push towards greater modernisation within the municipal recycling sector has also strengthened the company’s established businesses, as can be seen in Gliwice: the joint venture run by REMONDIS and this Polish industrial city has now invested in a new mechanical-biological recycling plant. Construction work on the new plant began in October and is expected to have been completed by the middle of 2015. Looking at the recycling set up in Opole, this new facility will not only create 50 jobs, it will also benefit the 185,000 people living in the city as far less waste will be sent to landfill – and so improve the environment they live in.
”Thanks to its branches and subsidiaries, REMONDIS has a particularly good set up for serving commercial customers.“
Torsten Weber, Managing Director of REMONDIS International
REMONDIS is able to react confidently and successfully to new regulations and changes to municipal recycling markets. One of the reasons for this is because it has a second extremely stable and equally successful line of business – its industrial services division. This is also the case in Poland: REMONDIS has been offering hazardous waste and industrial residual waste services in the country since 1998. REMONDIS Electrorecycling, REMONDIS Medison, BUCHEN, XERVON and TSR-Recycling all have branches in Poland enabling the company to provide a wide range of services to its commercial customers: from medical laboratories, to global players such as Bosch, Siemens and MAN. EKO-PUNKT’s take-back system also closes material life cycles, professionally processing recyclable and residual materials generated by local authorities.
From left to right: Tomasz Rysz, Managing Director of Śląskie Centrum Recyklingu, Zygmunt Frankiewicz, Mayor/President of the City of Gleiwitz, Torsten Weber, Managing Director of REMONDIS International, Dr Dariusz Szyszka, Managing Director of Śląskie Centrum Recyklingu