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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 three-way cooperation

  • TSR’s Dutch subsidiary, HKS Scrap Metals, the design agency, Scope Design & Strategy, and the vocational institute, MBO Amersfoort, have joined forces and developed ‘Raw Metals’ – high quality stylish products made from recycled non-ferrous metals. The special feature here: conventional metal processing stages, such as smelting, are not needed at all. This reduces carbon emissions by 60%. This joint team recently won an award for their project.

Award won in 2019

  • Functionality, ergonomics, originality, design and respect towards humans and the environment – these are the criteria that the Dutch Designlink foundation focuses on when assessing products and production processes that wish to receive its “Goed Industrieel Ontwerp” seal of quality. HKS, Scope and MBO were presented with this prestigious award for their joint Raw Metals project back in 2019. The two companies and the vocational institute have developed a special process for its Raw Metals initiative that enables them to make stylish products from shredded non-ferrous metals.

    • The first Raw Metals prototypes: bathroom towel hooks. The system used to make these products generated 60% fewer carbon emissions than conventional metalwork processes

No need for semi-finished products

This method does not involve smelting the materials, nor does it use so-called semi-finished products. This new production process needs far less energy than conventional methods and reduces carbon emissions by 60%. The small metal particles are pressed together to create functional and robust products with an unusual design. Besides receiving the foundation’s universal seal of quality, Raw Metals was also presented with a special award for the “Respect” criterion – a sign of the jury’s appreciation of the way these products promote environmental protection and sustainability.

Countless options

  • “The raw material comes from our milling facility. The pressed metal composite is extremely versatile, is a great material for working with and is suitable for making a whole range of products,” explained Sebastiaan Meijs, supply chain & operations manager at HKS Metals. The Raw Metals team have created a variety of prototypes, which comprise high quality, sustainable and marketable finished products such as towel hooks and other bathroom accessories. “There’s practically no limit to the number of everyday objects we can produce – door knobs and coat stands to name just two,” Meijs continued naming some of the initiators’ ideas. Raw Metals was subsidised by the Toekomstfonds Duurzame Ontwikkeling (Sustainable Development Future Fund). This fund supports sustainable and innovative projects and initiatives in the Dutch City of Amersfoort.

    Delighted to have received the ‘Goed Industrieel Ontwerp’ Award for their Raw Metals project: Pim Jonkman, owner of Scope Design & Strategy (front row/left), and Sebastiaan Meijs, Supply Chain & Operations Manager at HKS (front row/right), together with the jury

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