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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

A plant that is setting standards across the world

  • The boiler at the waste incineration plant in Kiel, the MVK, was heated up for the very first time 40 years ago. Today, with an efficiency level of 71 %, it is one of the world’s most efficient incineration plants of its kind. Here, the plant takes non-recyclable waste produced in Kiel and the neighbouring districts and uses it to generate electricity and heat for the local inhabitants and industrial businesses. These activities are also making an important contribution to preventing climate change.

Official ceremony with guests from the worlds of politics and business

The plant’s 40 years of business was officially celebrated in September – in the presence of the Environment Minister for the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, Robert Habeck, and Norbert Rethmann, honorary chairman of the supervisory board of the Rethmann Group, as well as many other guests from the worlds of politics and business. During the event, city councillor, Wolfgang Röttgers, pointed out that the plant was an excellent example of how the very most could be made of waste. The MVK, he said, was providing around 20 % of the district heat needed by the City of Kiel.

Despite being 40 years old, MVK Kiel is one of the most efficient plants of its kind thanks to the investments that have been made over the years.

A great example of a well-functioning PPP

  • Rüdiger Karschau, a long-standing member of the city council and chairman of MVK’s supervisory board, remarked that the MVK had been well accepted by the local inhabitants before adding: “at least it is not on their list of bugbears”.

    There was also another reason why managing director, Frank Ehlers, and his many guests could be proud of the high efficiency levels of the plant, which is owned by the City of Kiel (51 %) and REMONDIS (49 %). A perfect example of a successful public private partnership, the MVK helps to take the pressure off the public purse year on year and, as a result, off all the local residents. It was Schleswig-Holstein’s Environment Minister Robert Habeck, who emphasised the “considerable contribution” that the MVK was making towards Germany’s efforts to switch from fossil fuels to renewables. During his speech, he underlined the importance of sending waste for materials recycling so that their raw materials could be recovered and reused. At the same time, he praised the fact that the plant and its state-of-the-art technology were acting as a role model for others: “If waste has to be incinerated, then let’s hope it’s being done at a plant like the one here in Kiel.”

    • MVK’s event was attended by a number of high-profile guests (from left to right): Sabine Schirdewahn, head of Städtischer Eigenbetrieb Beteiligungen (SEK), MVK CEO, Frank Ehlers, Wolfgang Steen, Managing Director of REMONDIS Region North, Robert Habeck, Environment Minister of Schleswig-Holstein, Norbert Rethmann, Honorary Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the RETHMANN Group, Rüdiger Karschau, Chairman of MVK’s Supervisory Board

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