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  • Dear Readers!

    Everyone’s greatest wish at the moment is for life to return to normal. So let us take a look at the positive things that have happened. And there have been a great deal of them, many of which can be put down to the very good collaboration with you – our partners, friends and employees. As the year draws to a close, it is traditionally a time to take stock of the last twelve months and happily 2020 was not as bad as may have been expected considering the overall situation. At the same time, we can look ahead to 2021 with hope and optimism.

    One example is our return to the Dual System, the scheme in Germany for managing old sales packaging. Maybe some of you may remember when we withdrew our own Dual System, EKO-PUNKT, from the market in the summer of 2014 as it had become impossible to predict the legal and business risks at the time. But then the Packaging Law came into force – finally putting an end to the infinite number of amendments that were being made to the old Packaging Ordinance. Which means that the necessary framework conditions are now in place for us to return to the Dual System market. Following its first attempt (the acquisition of DSD which was unfortunately turned down by the monopolies commission), REMONDIS has now purchased RK, a Dual System that owns a full set of valid licences but, as yet, has no share of the market. Ideal conditions for us to play a role in this market again – something that is as natural for a recycling firm to do as it is for Father Christmas to wear a red hat. And so RK will become the new EKO-PUNKT Dual System. In the style of that famous film from the 80s, we’re going “Back to the future!”

    Christmas is also a time where we may traditionally make a wish. The European Commission and the German government wish to have so-called green steel, i.e. steel that is produced without fossil fuels and so emits as little CO2 as possible. Focus is being put here on “green hydrogen” as a potential climate-neutral source of energy. As with so many wishes, however, the first question is where should this green energy come from? And, above all, who should pay for it? Leaving aside the fact that there is as yet no official definition for green steel, the chances of there being sufficient supplies of green hydrogen available on the market any time soon would appear to be slim with the development towards renewable electricity generation moving so slowly. And yet, this sought-after green steel has been around for ages. It is produced from high quality scrap steel, over eight million tonnes of which is recovered and returned to production cycles by TSR using a process that is for the most part climate neutral – without having to consume land, without having to use additional resources and without having to needlessly transport material half way around the globe. Sounds almost like Christmas, but it’s true.

    Against the backdrop of all this good news, we would like to thank you all for the great collaboration work. May we take this opportunity to wish you a happy Christmas and all the very best for the coming year.


    Thomas Conzendorf

A man with great dedication

Mr Wolfgang Steinberg passed away suddenly aged 70 on 27 October 2020. A long-standing member of the RETHMANN Group’s Group works council, he had been involved in many different projects, always steadfastly pursuing his goal to positively help shape the development of the company. Ludger Rethmann, board chairman of the REMONDIS Group, was deeply shocked by the news: “We have lost a much appreciated and highly respected partner. His opinion was always extremely important to us. Our thoughts are, in particular, with his two sons.” Norbert Rethmann, honorary chairman of the supervisory board of the RETHMANN Group, remembered: “I first met Wolfgang Steinberg in 1972 when he joined Rethmann Städtereinigung – as the company was called back then – as a qualified wholesale specialist. I always very much valued him and all he did on the works council. While dealing with the issues of the employees, Mr Steinberg never lost track of the company’s perspective either. He always had a balanced view of company interests and the workforce’s interests.”

His greatest challenge as a member of the works council

Wolfgang Steinberg’s people focus was also evident when he was asked about what his biggest professional challenge had been as a member of the works council: “The most turbulent period that I experienced in my job was the time after the acquisition of RWE Umwelt in February 2005. The people had to go along with the integration of such a large organisation. Employees, who had been competitors on the market for many, many years, suddenly found themselves having to work together in the same company. People always imagine this process to be easier than it actually is. Our task was to create an environment that enabled all employees to do their job well.”

A wise leader

Wolfgang Steinberg was a member of the union bargaining committee, on the district board of the ÖTV/Verdi union in Hamm and, from 2007 onwards, an alternating board chairman of BG Verkehr, the employers’ liability insurance association for transportation and traffic. “We have lost a wise and self-assured leader, who advocated tirelessly for the well-being of all those covered by our insurance scheme. Our deepest sympathy goes out to his family,” said Klaus Peter Röskes, board chair of BG Verkehr, who represents employers. “We shall always remember Wolfgang Steinberg as a board chairman who unfailingly managed to drive forward occupational safety by working cooperatively with the employers’ side,” commented Sabine Kudzielka, chair of BG Verkehr’s management board.

A local economy expert

  • Besides working for the RETHMANN Group, Wolfgang Steinberg also became a member of the Sparkasse Lünen bank’s supervisory board and risk committee in 2014 and later of the Sparkasse an der Lippe bank’s board as well. His extensive expertise earned him great respect on both boards and his in-depth knowledge of the local economy often proved to be of great use in decision-making processes. Mr Steinberg’s calm manner was also much appreciated as a member of the board of trustees of the Sparkasse an der Lippe bank’s sports foundation. Both the Sparkasse an der Lippe and its sports foundation will always hold his memory in honour.

    • Wolfgang Steinberg visiting Wamckow, Norbert Rethmann’s adopted home town, in 2019; (from left to right) Irmgard Rethmann, Julia and Mario Löhr, former mayor of Selm and today District Administrator for the District of Unna, Wolfgang Steinberg, Ulrich Stallmann, Chair of the Group works council, and Norbert Rethmann, Honorary Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the REMONDIS Group

Also involved in local politics

Furthermore, Wolfgang Steinberg was actively involved in local politics and held a seat on the supervisory boards of a number of municipal businesses, including Gemeinschafts-Müllverbrennungsanlage Oberhausen, Wirtschaftsbetriebe Oberhausen, Wirtschaftsbetriebe Lünen and Stadtwerke Selm. He took up his position on the Group works council when it was founded in 1994 and handed over the baton to his successor Ulrich Stallmann in 2018, after 24 years of being in this role. Wolfgang Steinberg continued supporting the business, advising REMONDIS’ regional company, REMONDIS West, on occupational safety issues.

We shall never forget Mr Steinberg and shall always hold his memory in honour.

The RETMANN Group’s management team, works council and staff & the Rethmann family

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