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  • Dear Readers!

    This editorial was written and ready for print and focused primarily on the EU’s Green Deal. And then coronavirus spread around the world and the text had to be revised. Despite the current situation, though, the Green Deal remains one of the most important projects for the European circular economy. And many other things have happened as well – the question surrounding DSD, for example.

    It is now official. On 22 April 2020, the first Cartel Panel of the Higher Regional Court [Oberlandesgericht] of Düsseldorf dismissed our appeal against the Cartel Office’s decision. Their ruling surprised us as we were sure that we had the better arguments in favour of us acquiring Duales System Deutschland GmbH. But we live under the rule of law and we will, of course, accept their decision. What we need to do now is to take the time required to take a detailed look at the Panel’s reasons for dismissing our appeal and then carefully decide what our next steps should be. In light of the fact that all other major competitors operate in this market, it will be interesting to see to what extent REMONDIS will get involved in the Dual System in the future.

    It is not so easy to look ahead at the moment, though, faced with the current coronavirus emergency. When the first media reports came through on 29 December last year that China had informed the WHO that it had an unexplained cluster of people suffering from an unidentified lung disease, no one realised just how hard or how fast this virus would affect the globalised economy. It is practically impossible to estimate the costs incurred by the economy grounding to a halt as a result of the virus. And it is not just the private sector that has felt the impact. Many city and district authorities were already in financial difficulties before the crisis began. Their situation can only get worse, now that their revenue from local business tax and their takings from their local amenities have plummeted. Maybe it is time to set aside old arguments and enter into long-term partnerships with the private sector that will benefit both parties – especially when it comes to delivering essential public services. Setting up public private joint ventures dedicated to providing essential services could help mitigate the consequences of the crisis. At the end of the day, ‘a load shared is a load halved’. One positive coming from these unprecedented times is the increased sense of solidarity among the population and towards many sections of the economy. REMONDIS, too, is there to help and support its municipal partners – during this crisis more than ever.

    Past pandemics have rarely lasted longer than two years. At some stage – whether with or without a vaccine – public life and business will return to normal. This will be the moment when it will become clear to all that our planet’s biggest problem – climate change – has not solved itself. Once again, the spotlight will be turned on the European Union’s Green Deal. Looking at a list published from within the EU, there is a danger of important regulations being watered down, especially in the area of the circular economy. In contrast, the German National Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina, expressly advises against neglecting climate action and environmental protection following the Covid-19 crisis in its ad-hoc statement published on 14 April 2020. In fact, it recommends the exact opposite. The economy must be kick-started so that it can grow again and should, it says, be “guided more firmly than before by considerations of sustainability, not least because this offers vast potential for economic growth.” Climate change is and will continue to be the biggest challenge for the future and REMONDIS, being one of the leading water and recycling businesses, will continue to put forward its solutions and play an important role.

    With this in mind: stay safe and stay positive.

    Thomas Conzendorf

A sensible investment

REMONDIS Medison’s plans to build a second disinfection facility for infectious hospital waste at the Lippe Plant in Lünen have received official approval. “Coronavirus-infected waste also falls into the category of infectious waste and is already being transformed into non-hazardous waste in our other disinfection facility,” explained Ulrich Hankeln, managing director of REMONDIS Medison.

Harmful viruses made safe

“Disinfection facilities are extremely important – especially in a pandemic,” Hankeln continued. Commissioned in 2015, the company’s current facility uses steam to destroy germs, spores, viruses and bacteria, so that infectious hospital waste can be transformed into non-infectious waste. The high-calorific substitute fuel produced as a result of this process is then used by the Lippe Plant’s fluidised-bed power station to generate electricity and steam. Making the most of these facilities prevents the spread of viruses such as the latest coronavirus, SARS-CoV2.

“The safe collection and treatment of infectious waste is an important component of our healthcare system here in Germany – and not just since the spread of coronavirus.”

Ulrich Hankeln, Managing Director of REMONDIS Medison

Facility to be commissioned by the end of 2020

  • Medison had submitted its planning application to build a second disinfection facility back in April 2019, long before the Covid-19 emergency began. “The safe collection and treatment of infectious waste is an important component of our healthcare system here in Germany – and not just since the spread of coronavirus. It is our daily bread to handle these materials responsibly and help prevent the spread of disease,” commented Ulrich Hankeln. The company is planning to have its second disinfection facility up and running in Lünen this year to ensure there continues to be a reliable waste management service for infectious waste generated by hospitals, doctors’ surgeries and care homes in the future as well. This specialist company belonging to the REMONDIS Group will be installing state-of-the-art technology that will ensure that practically all stages of the disinfection process are fully automated – providing its employees with the highest levels of protection.

    • Medison’s special bins have been certified by the Robert Koch Institute. Once they have been locked, they can withstand a fall of 2 metres without being damaged.

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