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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

A well-known material

When the compact disc hit the market at the end of the 80s and became the most popular music medium, everyone believed that LPs were out for good. Around ten years ago, however, vinyl records gradually staged their comeback – sometimes black, sometimes colourful but always made of polyvinyl chloride resins or simply PVC.

Production site relies on REMONDIS

About the same time, in 2009 to be exact, REMONDIS Aqua began treating the wastewater generated by one of the biggest PVC production plants. Located at the Botlek Business Park on the site of Europe’s largest deep water sea port in Rotterdam, the world’s biggest PVC producer Shin-Etsu Chemical Co. Ltd. uses this plant to manufacture the raw material needed to produce PVC, the so-called vinyl chloride monomer. Once transformed into PVC, it can then be used to make a whole range of products such as pipes, window frames, cable sheathing and flooring. And records, of course.

A further eight years of partnership & a complex programme

Shin-Etsu and REMONDIS Aqua have now extended their partnership by a further eight years to ensure that the around 500,000m³ of wastewater generated by the plastic production processes each year continue to be safely treated. Being the operator of the wastewater treatment facilities, REMONDIS’ international water and wastewater specialists now face a comprehensive work schedule in Rotterdam.

Producing environmentally friendly raw materials

By providing its services, REMONDIS Aqua helps its customers to produce environmentally friendly raw materials for industrial businesses. And REMONDIS and Shin-Etsu have another thing in common as they strive to protect the environment: both set much store on recycling. Most of the processes operated by REMONDIS involve recovering materials for reuse and Shin-Etsu’s global operations use around 771,000 tonnes of recycled PVC – thus ensuring that this material, too, is returned to production cycles.

The composition of the wastewater generated by the plant’s chlor alkali product and vinyl chloride production activities is extremely complex. The wastewater treatment system at the Botlek Business Park in Rotterdam, therefore, involves two stages – a chemical-physical flocculation phase and a biological treatment phase – to ensure this water is treated effectively. In 2021, REMONDIS Aqua is to modernise, extend and adapt the facility to the ever increasing discharge requirements in five separate stages. An ambitious project, considering the challenging conditions and requirements of a chemicals production site and the fact that this work will be carried out while the plant remains in operation.

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