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  • Dear Readers!

    Once again another successful year is drawing to a close for our family-run company. This sentence, or one similar, can be read really quite often. In our case, a look back at the editorial of our 2018 Christmas issue might bring on a smile. Exactly one year ago, we spoke of the great business opportunities in both the recycling industry and the transport sector. At the time, we wrote in our editorial: “We have been able to make the most of these opportunities by taking steps to acquire DSD – Duales System Deutschland GmbH (and to purchase shares in Transdev). Both transactions must still be approved by the relevant authorities.”

    As we know today, twelve months on, the acquisition of shares in the Transdev Group worked out perfectly while the other – DSD – has, at least for the time being, been blocked by the German monopolies commission. Having assessed the packaging recycling market last year, we believed that DSD did not have a dominant market position – something that has been further underlined by the latest developments. The customer structure within the Dual System has changed dramatically since the Schwarz Group became, practically overnight, one of the five largest recycling companies after taking over Tönsmeier and expanding into the packaging market with its renamed firm, PreZero. REWE, one of the three biggest distributors of sales packaging in Germany, has changed its Dual System provider and moved to Reclay. And, on 19 November, a press release was published in the media that Aldi has also changed its provider and is now licensing its packaging with Interseroh instead of DSD. It will be interesting to see if and to what extent these latest developments will impact on the Regional Appeal Court’s ruling.

    Looking at the world of politics, 2019 has ended with the German government bringing out a concrete climate action package. The recycling industry, which has played a major – if not decisive – role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions since the introduction of the TaSi [Technical Directive on the Recycling, Treatment and Disposal of Municipal Waste] in 2005, is rubbing its eyes in disbelief having read the 22 pages. A mere 16 lines have been devoted to our industry. Perhaps they are already simply taking the positive impact we have on tackling climate change for granted? It is probably more likely that they continue to underestimate the potential of recycling to combat climate change. And there is still so much unused potential. Were the substitution rate, i.e. the share of recycled raw materials used in industrial production processes, to be doubled from the current 15% to 30%, then this alone would lead to emissions of CO2 equivalents being cut by around 60 million tonnes. The fact remains that comprehensive recycling measures will enable the climate goals to be met. Indeed, REMONDIS shows that this is possible every single day.

    With this optimistic outlook, I would like to thank you all for your great support and collaboration over the last twelve months. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and successful 2020.

    Yours Ludger Rethmann

Working on Berlin’s roads

  • It’s winter in Berlin. The dark mornings and evenings and the wet streets make it difficult to get around this capital city. It’s hard to see what’s happening in the side streets and patience is needed to get the large waste collection truck around the corners. Cars that have been double parked and cyclists are constantly holding up the traffic. “Patience! That really is the biggest challenge of this job,” explains 17-year-old Antonia, who is currently doing an apprenticeship to become a professional lorry driver at REMONDIS in Berlin.

Not for the faint-hearted

Anyone who has met Antonia and her colleague Jessica will find there is no need to discuss gender equality here. Both these women know exactly what’s what – across the whole of Berlin. Being lorry drivers, they don’t have so much physical work. They do, however, find the job of moving the blue wheelie bins a good way to build up their strength with the bins being so full of transport packaging in the winter that the lids won’t close. Both agree that the most difficult part of their job is remaining calm and patient in the traffic.

Two multi-talented people

  • The fact that Antonia used to take part in boxing competitions has proven to be a great help to her in these chaotic situations. And not because it means she can get out her boxing gloves but because this four-time winner of the Berlin Lightweight Boxing Championships knows how to cope with stress and how to persevere. Today, she only boxes as a hobby as she wishes to concentrate on her apprenticeship at REMONDIS. Nowadays, she likes to get her adrenalin kick by riding her motorbike or her quad bike. “And if I get bored at the weekend, I just take my dog out for a walk for a couple of hours,” she said as if she often needs to get out and about to get rid of her excess energy. Her colleague Jessica would appear to have just as strong a character. This 18-year-old has already made a name for herself among her colleagues as being an excellent mechanic. With her father running his own garage, she knows all about engines and changing oil. So she is not easily thrown off course when she is carrying out her waste collection trips – not even if her truck breaks down.

    Jessica Kleine (18) and Antonia Thönißen (17)

Fulfilling a childhood dream

Neither woman has had lewd or shallow comments thrown at them. Not from their colleagues, nor out on the streets. “Why should we have?” Antonia asked matter-of-factly. Asking why she chose, as a woman, to take up this profession also seems to be superfluous, as is perhaps the whole discussion about gender diversity. “I’ve always wanted to do this job ever since I was a small child. And this is what I’ve done. Simply because I love it.”

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