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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.

    Yours

    Thomas Conzendorf

Carefully monitored

Mining still continues to affect the environment today. Which is why water supplies in mining regions have to be carefully monitored and regulated both during and after the decommissioning of mines. As is the case in the Lausitz’s brown coal mining areas. Previous mining activities have led to groundwater levels rising in this region and this water, which contains high levels of iron, is getting into the rivers. For example, into the Spree and Kleine Spree rivers. Responsible for all mine remediation work, Lausitzer und Mitteldeutsche Bergbau-Verwaltungsgesellschaft (LMBV) has undertaken a number of measures to improve the situation.

Removing the iron from the water

Three modular water treatment facilities located in Burgneudorf, Neustadt and Ruhlmühle (east Saxony) are at the heart of this clean-up process. These facilities remove a substantial amount of the iron from the groundwater before it flows into the rivers. While most of the water contains iron hydroxide when it enters the treatment facilities, almost all traces of it have gone by the time the water treatment process has been completed and the water is discharged into the rivers. Large, stationary plants are not required to treat the groundwater. Instead, small-scale units are being deployed that contain reaction, flocculation and sedimentation containers as well as a sludge thickener. It is certainly true that these space-saving types of technology are more difficult to service and clean. However, this is more than compensated for by their flexibility as their modular structure means they can be extended in no time at all whenever this may be required.

Contract following a Europe-wide tender

Wasserverband Lausitz Betriebsführungs GmbH (WAL- Betrieb) will be in charge of operating, servicing and repairing these three container-supported water treatment facilities from 2021 onwards. The company, a subsidiary of EURAWASSER GmbH & Co. KG, is the leading water management provider in the Lausitz region and recently won a Europe-wide tender to remove the iron from the water entering the rivers. It has been collaborating with LMBV for many years: one of their first cooperation projects involved WAL-Betrieb helping LMBV to regulate groundwater levels.

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