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  • Dear Readers!

    At the beginning of December, delegates from 195 UN member states and the EU travelled to Paris to try and find a compromise to curb global warming – a compromise which all countries should then honour. Their primary goal has been to find a new agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol which ends in 2020. They had not reached the end of their deliberations when this magazine went to print but one thing has become very clear: the significance of the recycling industry as a means to preventing climate change continues to be underestimated. And yet there are so many excellent examples that demonstrate how sending waste for materials recycling not only protects our environment and conserves our dwindling supplies of natural resources but also helps to curb global warming. REMONDIS’ Lippe Plant in Lünen reduces emissions of CO2 equivalents by almost half a million tonnes every year by recycling waste and producing regenerative energy. And this is just one plant in REMONDIS’ network of approx. 500 facilities. If the whole world were to use the full potential of the raw materials and energy hidden in waste, then recycling would put an end to global warming. Logically, Klima Expo.NRW has accepted three more of REMONDIS’ areas of expertise onto its list of qualified projects following the nomination of its biogas plant in Coesfeld at the beginning of the year. These and other recycling plants and projects will help to spread the message that recycling has a long list of advantages and is one of the best ways to counteract climate change.  

    Recycled paper is one of these raw materials that can help curb global warming: it can be used as a substitute for paper made from virgin fibres and so help reduce the need to fell our trees. The following figures clearly demonstrate that sustainable forest management is not at the top of every country’s list. We are currently losing around 13 million hectares or 130,000km² of forest every single year. That is the equivalent to a forest the size of England being cut down every year. Forests are an effective way of preventing climate change as each and every tree absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere. Paper recycling helps protect our forests and probably has the biggest impact on the carbon footprint of our informed society which still turns to paper formats as their main source of information despite the presence of the Internet. REMONDIS provides the paper industry with huge supplies of high quality recycled paper, helping the sector to become more sustainable.

    Sustainability, however, starts before recycling is actually needed. The European Waste Framework Directive puts re-use in second place after waste prevention and ahead of materials recycling. It is, therefore, a logical decision for Daimler, REMONDIS and a number of other partners to set up the world’s largest second use battery storage unit made from used lithium-ion batteries at the Lippe Plant. The batteries, which will come from the growing number of electric cars, still have 90 % of their storage capacity after they can no longer be used in the vehicles – more than enough to help stabilise the grid as more and more electricity is provided by fluctuating regenerative energy sources. After approx.10 years use in this battery storage unit, the batteries can then be sent for efficient materials recycling – perfectly closing the life cycle of this product.

    We would like to thank all our friends, partners and employees for their goodwill and loyalty throughout the past year and wish them a very happy Christmas and all the very best for the New Year. 

    Yours

    Max Koettgen

There are two sides to our prosperous culture

We will soon be celebrating Christmas. Many people will be getting together with their families to celebrate this festival in an atmosphere of harmony, each attentive to the others’ needs. We often demonstrate this by exchanging gifts with one another – gifts which we have chosen and made or bought to give others pleasure and to show them how much they mean to us. More often than not, this giving of presents results in a mountain of waste – of torn wrapping paper, of so much lavish and now useless packaging, of so many objects, now obsolete as they have been replaced by something new. All these things must be collected and recycled. For me, Christmas – this Christian festival when we remember the birth of Jesus Christ when God became man – is the time that shows most clearly the two sides to our prosperous Western culture.

Alongside this time of goodwill, pleasure and anticipation – especially among children – Christmas is also a perfect example of our consumer culture, of the narrow line between pleasure and tedium, of our consumption of goods and energy, of our desire to have something new and of our rejection of old familiar things. If we didn’t have the systems in place, if we didn’t have separate waste collection services and the recycling sector, we would be suffocating under a mountain of waste. Every year, I travel to Latin America in my role as the bishop responsible for the Adveniat charity. There are people there living on and earning their living from such mountains of waste and these are images that are often in my thoughts. The everyday reality of these people and their outlook on life are so very different to that of others. I find it so hard to live with the knowledge that such poverty still exists and am ashamed at the same time.

Germany’s wealth, the good lives we lead in such a clean and tidy environment – in such contrast to so many other regions around the world – can also be put down to the sophisticated interaction between supply and waste management, something that REMONDIS also represents. We are using our planet’s natural resources more and more efficiently, an ever growing number of products are able to be recycled. Protecting our environment, which we as Christians see as being God’s creation and gift to mankind, has taken on an important role both in the world of politics and society as a whole – Thanks be to God! Sustainability, however, will simply remain a buzz word if serious efforts are not made to achieve it.

  • The waste management company REMONDIS is a family-run business. Family-run companies have the reputation of caring for things differently, more intensively.

  • The waste management company REMONDIS is a family-run business. Family-run companies have the reputation of caring for things differently, more intensively. This can be put down to the longer time horizon that perhaps allows the family owners to act in a way towards their stakeholders, employees, customers and neighbours that large enterprises with their high levels of staff turnover are unable to do. These large and small family-run businesses are the backbone of Germany’s economy. This, too, is something precious and something we must be grateful for.

    The promise of Christmas – that God is so close to us, that he sent his son Jesus to become one of us, like us in all things except sin – is an answer to the conditions that are needed for our life on Earth. Our responsibilities include us caring for others as well as ourselves and taking care of all aspects of our lives. This also encompasses waste management which allows us to create new life cycles. For us Christians, Christmas, this family festival, is not the pinnacle of consumerism. Advent, the period preceding this festival, is a time of waiting for the arrival of Christmas. In the past, Advent was a time for fasting, a conscious decision to abstain from consumption in the run up to Christmas. In this sense, Advent means “anticipation”. We alone cannot provide everything we need for a good future. On the contrary, most things are provided for us. Experiencing this feeling of well-being, comfort and security, all of which make Christmas so important to us, is a gift from God, from him being so close to us, from him giving us his son. This knowledge can help take the pressure off us and give us great comfort as we go about our everyday lives.

    • Essen Minster, built in 1275 with roots going back to 845, is in the heart of the German city of Essen and is the seat of the “Diocese of the Ruhr”

    With much appreciation for your hard work, I would like to wish everyone working at REMONDIS and their families a “pressure-free” time as they look forward to the blessedness of Christmas.

    Yours
    Franz-Josef Overbeck,
    Bishop of Essen

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