There are so many different facets to sustainability – especially at a company such as ours that works each and every day to conserve our planet's natural resources and curb global warming. Why not take a trip around our 'World of Sustainability' to find out more?!
The whole notion of sustainability will be a lost cause unless we take action here and now to conserve our planet's natural resources. Future generations and today's developing countries will only be able to enjoy prosperous lives if steps are taken right now to counteract the growing shortages of raw materials. For us – being one of the world's leading recycling, service and water companies – there can be only one goal: to tackle this problem and lead by example. Why not join us on this path?!
'Recycling rather than disposal'. This is a principle that we never fail to follow – doing everything in our power to close product life cycles so that fewer raw materials need to be mined and processed using energy-intensive machinery. A principle we follow with the highest levels of commitment and always with state-of-the-art technologies. Recycling is far too important for us to sit back and be satisfied with what has been achieved so far.
Everyone agrees that global warming must be limited to 2°C – or preferably 1.5°C – if we wish to prevent our ecosystem from being irreparably damaged. Large areas of woodland in Germany are dying as the country suffers ever longer periods of drought. Pussyfooting around is not going to stop climate change. Some major action needs to be taken. And not just switching from fossil fuels to renewables but from virgin to recycled raw materials as well. We are showing how this can be done.
Our planet’s raw materials are finite. And yet we still treat them as if they will last forever. A mere 14% of the raw materials needed in Germany are supplied by the recycling sector. And this despite the fact that recycled raw materials are not only of the same high quality but also better for our climate and carbon footprint.
The Lippe Plant in Lünen is not only a high tech site, it is also an important project for combatting global warming. The various activities carried out at the site help to cut carbon emissions by 488,000t every single year. For a forest to have the same effect, it would need to contain 37 million trees. Certainly a lovely place to take a walk in but perhaps not an ideal place for creating 1,400 jobs.
If anyone knows how the Green Deal works, then it is us. This can be seen not only by the innovative ways we produce recycled raw materials and renewable energies, but also by our many efforts to combat climate change. A good example of this is the ban on landfills here in Germany, which was initiated by us. We have been calling for such a ban to be adopted across the whole of Europe for many years now. This would lead to GHG emissions in one of the four biggest industrial sectors falling by 67% in one fell sweep.
According to the UN, access to clean water is a basic human right. Looking at the bare facts, however, 748 million people around the world are still taking their drinking water from polluted sources. What can local companies do to help here? A great deal – as can be seen by REMONDIS’ international projects.
Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for all living organisms on Earth. There is, therefore, a great demand for this substance. Huge volumes of phosphorus are needed in Europe alone every single year – as a source material for products such as fertilisers and animal feed. The search is on, therefore, for innovations that are up to the challenge of recovering this substance.
People searching for an argument in favour of plastics recycling need look no further than at our seas and oceans. Vast areas of waste are floating around in them and are so big that they can even be seen from space. This problem, however, can only be solved on Earth – with more responsible consumer behaviour and systematic plastics recycling.
Unfortunately memories are not the only things left behind by brownfield sites. Such land is often highly contaminated. Every year, our company REMEX ProTerra handles, processes and treats 1.7 million tonnes of soil in order to reclaim land.
The old pods used in single-serve coffee makers are simply too good to throw away. At the end of the day, aluminium – which makes up most of the pod – is a valuable raw material. Which is why we got together with the Nespresso coffee producers to come up with the best possible recycling scheme.
Disposable nappies are a real problem as far as sustainability is concerned. For the most part, they go from the changing mat straight into the residual waste bin – and from there to the incineration plant. This is most certainly not eco-friendly. And does absolutely nothing to conserve natural resources. The answer to this problem is to recycle them.
Dangerous substances are part of our everyday life. Empty batteries, for example, contain harmful mercury and must be recycled using special processes. REMONDIS is the right place to turn to here as well. We have access to state-of-the-art technologies for treating hazardous waste – including systems for recycling mercury.
Every year, REMONDIS’ Lippe Plant generates 336,900 MWh of carbon-neutral energy from incinerating waste – energy, therefore, that is produced without any fossil fuels. Moreover, we are constantly working on developing new ways to produce green electricity and heat.
Talking the talk but not walking the walk? Not at REMONDIS. It goes without saying that our all-encompassing view of sustainability also includes us being sustainable ourselves. This covers all aspects of our business – from the energy efficiency levels of our head office buildings, all the way through to ensuring that all our locations adhere to our high social standards, no matter where in the world they may be.
Every company tries to make a profit. And things are no different at REMONDIS either. For us, however, money is always a means to a good end – which is why a large part of the profits we make is invested in developing new and innovative recycling processes and technologies. Helping to preserve our planet’s valuable natural resources.
An ever growing number of employees are looking to find a job that allows them to do work that is both meaningful and sustainable. That’s exactly what they’ll find at our company – no matter what their qualifications or level of education may be. As far as we are concerned, our motto “Working for the future” also means making it possible for people to have a future.
Ergonomic workstation assessments are carried out at regular intervals to ensure our workstations are safe and healthy places. Moreover we have stringent safety standards in place so that our workforce remains healthy – and not just those who sit while they work but also those working high up in the air, such as our industrial climbers.
Our new head office building, which officially opened in 2010, is a prime example of high efficiency. Several of REMONDIS’ innovative recycled products were used for the construction work. The heat generated by the building’s own computer centre is used to heat the offices and meeting rooms. The temperature regulation system automatically turns the heating off in a room if a window is opened. All in all, a really smart building.
One of our company’s most important features is its decentralised organisation. We have built up close ties with the towns and cities where we are located and do everything in our power to support their local economy – in keeping, therefore, with our maxim of ‘thinking globally and acting locally’.
The movement to help preserve our planet’s natural resources is an international concern but the first step begins with each individual and the way they think. Dedication and a commitment to sustainability, therefore, must be thought through at global level but the message must also reach the people on the ground and must inspire them to join in. REMONDIS’ projects show how this can be done.
Sustainability is not a state or a condition but an ongoing process. First and foremost, sustainability is team work. Which is why we cooperate closely with experts and research institutes that also feel strongly about conserving our planet’s natural resources and preventing climate change. Such work always leads to new approaches and innovations.
We worked together with the independent Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety, and Energy Technology UMSICHT to develop this unique Sustainability Certificate. It provides our customers with documented proof of how our services help their business to conserve resources and cut carbon emissions.
Did you know that arable land is also an excellent carbon store just like moorland? What’s more, unlike its natural counterpart, it is actually possible to increase the climate action potential of cultivated land. By using compost to increase the humus content of soils. A special tool developed by us and the Fraunhofer Institute can help with the calculations here. The name of the tool: CarboSoil.
Think of steel making and you’re likely to come up with a picture of searing heat, glowing furnaces and a never-ending demand for energy. We would like to change the last one at least. Increasing the use of recycled raw materials can help make steel production a much greener and more climate-friendly business.
Recycling starts much earlier than most people realise – namely when a product is actually being designed. It is certainly true that composite materials are very useful for our everyday lives. They are, however, causing a real problem when they are no longer needed as it is practically impossible – or only with a huge effort – to separate the materials from each other so that they can be recycled for reuse. The only way to solve this problem is to systematically implement the principle of ecodesign, which takes the environmental compatibility of a product into account from its development all the way through to the end of its useful life. Including the recyclability of the product and to what extent recycled raw materials can be used to produce it in the first place.
All around the world, local authorities and public sector customers are opting to work with REMONDIS and make the very most of its specialist knowledge. The outcome of setting up these so-called public private partnerships is stable fees for the local inhabitants as well as professional waste treatment processes – combined with the highest possible recycling rates. Positive outcomes that also benefit the environment.
One of the top priorities for companies wishing to run a responsible business is to ensure they have sustainable production processes in place. REMONDIS is always happy to help out here with its know-how. Our portfolio of services ranges from treating wastewater, to processing residual materials, all the way through to producing biogas – all of which are delivered on site at our customers'.
Raw materials don’t disappear, they are just hidden away. Today’s complex products consist of so many tiny elements that it seems practically impossible to recover them and separate them according to type. Focusing on material streams can make things much easier.
Copy our technology? Yes please! Our recycling operations in Lünen are acting as a role model around the globe and have even received an award from KlimaExpo.NRW. We have succeeded in transferring our know-how to many flourishing regions around the world, such as to the Eco Industrial Parks in Asia, which are now run in line with the Lippe Plant’s high standards.
The latest studies have revealed that each and every one of us could do a great deal more towards conserving our planet’s natural resources. Simply by separating our waste better – i.e. less commingling. If we all did this, then a further 7.8 million tonnes of recyclables could be returned to production cycles in Germany alone. This is the equivalent of a further 95kg per inhabitant per year.
A comparison with how nature works shows that what we call a circular flow or closed loop economy is often a bit misleading. This is because, more often than not, people fail to think in a holistic and all-encompassing way. This failure leads to recyclable materials and pollutants being mixed together during production processes, making it impossible for the products to be fully recycled at the end of their useful life. The so-called Cradle to Cradle® design concept aims to help out here.
Products are being developed and improved all the time – not least because of our society's desire to switch to renewable energy. Any environmental benefits that photovoltaic systems, wind turbines and composite insulation boards may bring, however, quickly fall by the wayside if they cannot be sensibly recycled once they reach the end of their useful life. This is where research work must step up to the mark.
Wherever we see an opportunity to drive forward the notion of sustainability and to fix it even more firmly in the minds of people, then we are there, full of passion and enthusiasm for the cause. This covers a whole range of activities – from educational projects, to acting as advisers, to supporting universities.
It makes no difference how many pamphlets politicians and scientists print out about the subject of resource conservation. What is important is just how much of their message is actually taken in by society. Which is why we are doing everything in our power to take the notion of sustainability to where it will truly be absorbed – to kindergartens and classrooms.
We are more than happy to share our knowledge with others. Each and every day, we advise politicians and trade associations about topics such as conserving natural resources and preventing climate change to ensure these issues are given the attention they deserve. Lobbying for sustainable development so to speak.
EURAWASSER Nord, a company belonging to the REMONDIS Group, has been collaborating with the University of Rostock since 1994 – carrying out research work together and promoting young talent. That's quite a few semesters – and quite a few projects as well, of course.
If everyone around the world consumed our planet's natural resources at the same rate as we do in Germany, we would need to have 2.7 Earths to satisfy their demand. There can, therefore, be only one solution: more responsible consumption habits, less waste, better recycling. REMONDIS works with, among others, NABU (German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union) to help set the course for a more sustainable future.
The Steigenberger Hotel in Berlin was presented with the "Meeting Experts Green Award" in 2015. Why? Because the events held at the hotel focus on sustainability and carbon compensation. REMONDIS has been helping Steigenberger with its bespoke recycling concept, drawn up to cover the hotel chain's specific requirements.
Everyone is talking about the scarcity of raw materials and about sustainability. But what exactly is behind it all? We decided to do some research to find out what it’s all about – so that we could put together some pages with the most important background information for you to read.
The first time that attention was really paid to sustainability was during the UN Conference on Environment and Development, which was held in Rio in 1992. At the time, the delegates attending the event decided that the problem of greenhouse gases should be tackled in order to reduce levels of carbon emissions around the world. Practically no progress has been made since then. Which means we have even less time now to successfully combat the greenhouse effect.
Whilst sustainability is without doubt a global issue, it still needs to be tackled at national level with each government introducing their own national structures. So what are the different policies – at global, EU and German level? How is sustainability being approached by these different communities? This chapter provides some answers.
Sustainability needs action. Right around the world. The Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs – which were drawn up and adopted in 2015 – describe what action needs to be taken so that all 7 billion people living on our planet can enjoy a high quality of life.
Every one of us has at some time or other heard or read of the ‘impending shortage of raw materials’. Just how serious is the situation though? How much of these natural resources do we actually have left and how can we consume less of them? We’ve put together a few examples that answer both these and a number of other questions.
The whole of this website is simply brimming with facts and figures – as indeed is the subject of sustainability in general. Anyone wanting to stay on top of things really does have to immerse themselves in the material and do some serious research work. Or simply scroll down this page, paragraph by paragraph. We have put together a summary of some sustainability facts for you. Clearly divided up into different categories and depicted in a variety of infographics.
The concept of sustainability is finding an ever greater audience – online as well. We have done our homework for you and sifted through the huge range of websites on this topic. The result is an interesting collection of websites, portals and blogs.
This website is brimming with facts and figures – as indeed is the subject of sustainability in general. Anyone wanting to stay on top of things really does have to immerse themselves in the material and do some serious research work. Or simply scroll down this page, paragraph by paragraph. We have put together a summary of some sustainability facts for you. Clearly divided up into different categories and depicted in a variety of graphics.
There is an overwhelming consensus among scientists that we are currently experiencing a phase of climate change caused by human activity. In fact, the Anthropocene – the name given to the current epoch – is, in general, having a serious impact on our planet.
Looking at the situation today, 1.7 Planet Earths are effectively needed to sustainably cover the demand of the world’s population for raw materials
The amount of waste generated in Germany every year (as of 2017)
The volume of household waste per capita in Germany (as of 2017)
The amount of CO2 emitted by all of the world’s volcanoes put together is just 1% of that produced by humans
The global temperature has risen by 1.1°C since the beginning of the industrial age. No other period of warming has been as fast as this over the last 66 million years in our planet’s history
The 10 warmest years since records began have all occurred after 2000
The expected rise in temperature caused by man-made emissions by the end of the 21st Century: 4 - 5°C. The only comparable period over the last 10,000 years is the postglacial temperature increase
The speed of global warming is around 100 times greater than was the case with natural climate changes that occurred in the past
If global warming is to be restricted to 1.5°C, then the volumes of methane in the atmosphere must sink by 35% between 2010 and 2050
One of the most promising ways to tackle climate change is to ensure that the raw materials that are being used are recovered and reused again and again. This enables huge volumes of carbon emissions to be saved
are produced by German municipal waste incineration plants every year. This would be enough to cover the energy requirements of all of the 6.5 million households in Bavaria
Recycled raw materials are up to 40 times less energy intensive – making them more climate neutral!
Energy savings during production processes (per tonne of recycled material used)
According to estimates, materials recycling operations around the world save over 100 terawatt-hours of primary energy every year
This is equivalent to the average amount of electricity consumed by around 32 million private households in Germany
If all the countries in the world were to consume resources at the same rate as Germany, then 2.7 Planet Earths would be needed rather than one
Extracting resources from nature can be hugely damaging to our environment. Every single gram of recycled raw material helps to preserve natural habitats
50 million tonnes of CO2 are currently being saved in Germany thanks to recycled raw materials. Were they to be used more systematically, this figure could be increased by a further ten million tonnes
The greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2), which is released into the atmosphere by a whole host of production processes, is one of the key drivers of climate change. Reducing emissions is essential in the fight against global warming
If the 1.5°C goal is to be achieved, then global carbon emissions must have been reduced to 2.5 tonnes per capita per year by 2050
According to experts, around 60 million tonnes of CO2 could be saved if German industrial businesses doubled the amount of recyclate they used from the current level of 15% to 30%
“Waste & Other” is the sector that has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions the most since 1990
Development of carbon emissions in the “Waste & Other” sector since 1990 (in million tonnes)
This is how high the circular economy’s contribution is towards reducing overall emissions in Germany
This is how low the circular economy’s share is of overall emissions in Germany
Covering a surface area of 230 hectares, the Lippe Plant is the largest industrial recycling centre in Europe and plays a major role in helping to protect the environment and curb global warming
The amount of CO2 saved each year by its recycling activities
of recycled raw materials and products leave the Lippe Plant every year
These achievements led to the Lippe Plant’s recycling operations being named one of the best pioneering projects by KlimaExpo.NRW in 2016
Waste management – or its more suitable title the ‘circular economy’ – is one of most important and most effective sectors for tackling climate change. Practically every single service provided by the circular economy contributes towards sustainability.
Across Germany, greenhouse gas emissions fell by around 350 million tonnes of CO2 between 1990 and 2015
The greatest reduction by far was achieved by the waste management sector, primarily due to the law that came into force in 2005 banning organic waste from being sent to landfill
of residual materials are collected, sorted and recycled in Germany every year
Development of the emissions of the ‘Waste Management & Other’ sector
The annual emissions of the German waste management sector have been cut by around 56 million tonnes of CO2 since 1990
Nowadays, the German waste management sector’s share of the country’s overall emissions is just 1% – a share that continues to fall
20% of the international Kyoto targets committed to by Germany will be achieved by the circular economy alone. One of the key contributing factors here is the ban on sending municipal waste to landfill
Municipal waste makes up just under 10% of all waste generated in Germany but emits large volumes of methane when it rots. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more damaging than CO2
If a European landfill ban were to be systematically enforced, then the success achieved in Germany could be duplicated across Europe. Carbon emissions would be cut by 67% compared to 1990
And now imagine a global landfill ban and a world where all raw materials were recovered and reused. The goals of the Paris Climate Agreement would be as good as reached
Energy recovery & materials recycling of waste in Germany (in 1,000 tonnes)
The EU’s target for the reuse and recycling of household waste by 2025
The EU’s target for landfilling municipal waste by 2035
The development of the recycling rate from 2018 to 2035
people work in the circular economy in Germanytig
euro turnover is generated every year
The circular economy depicts an ideal situation where there is no more waste. All products are manufactured in such a way that, once they reach the end of their useful life, they can be dismantled into individual recyclable pieces. The raw materials recovered can be returned to production cycles and be reused
REMONDIS operates Europe’s largest industrial recycling centre in Lünen, a town in the German region of Westphalia. We have put together a summary of the most important facts and figures about the Lippe Plant below.
The Lippe Plant is an industrial area but has the carbon footprint of 25,000 hectares of forest
Around 900,000 tonnes of products leave the Lippe Plant every year
336,900 megawatt hours of energy (electricity and heat) are produced at the Lippe Plant in Lünen alone every year
Fluidised-bed power station
Lippe Plant: own requirements
Biomass-fired power plant
Energy output for external customers
REMONDIS also has shares in EfW plants at a variety of locations in Germany besides the Lippe Plant. They all – including the hazardous waste incineration plant operated by our subsidiary SAVA – play an important role in supplying their regions with energy
We are constantly looking at further improving our performance by modernising our operations and using new process technology. We have invested 400 million euros to achieve this over the last few years alone
A state-of-the-art organic material treatment facility able to supply energy to ca. 1,400 households and save ca. 5,000 tonnes of CO2 every year
Our natural resource water is limited and incredibly valuable. Especially, if you consider that the world’s population is constantly growing and there are already several hundred million people today who are unable to regularly access safe drinking water.
Just 2.5% of the world’s water supplies is suitable as drinking water. Yet another reason for handling this resource responsibly
The amount of drinking water produced by REMONDIS every year
The number of sewage treatment plants operated by REMONDIS around the world
The overall length of the sewer network managed and operated by REMONDIS
Phosphorus is a valuable raw material and essential for all forms of life. Natural reserves of this material are finite and practically all of them are located outside Europe. Which makes it all the more important to recover and recycle it in our own country.
The world’s first ever industrial-scale phosphorus recovery plant was built in Hamburg in 2020. Each year, this facility can produce 7,000 tonnes of high-purity phosphoric acid from 20,000 tonnes of sewage sludge ash
If all the sewage sludge generated in Germany every year were to be treated with the TetraPhos® process, then this would have the same effect on reducing CO2 levels as 27 million trees
The environmental footprint of REPACID®, the phosphoric acid produced by the TetraPhos® process, is 60% better that that of the virgin raw materials that have to be imported
How REMONDIS recovers phosphorus
From plant and tree cuttings, to leftover fruit, to kitchen waste – biomass is a high-energy material that can be used to make a variety of sustainable products. For example, climate-friendly fuels, heat and electricity.
still end up mistakenly in the residual waste bin
Utilising biomass plays a major role in curbing climate change – as can be seen here: saving 65.8 million tonnes of CO2
The sale of biomass in the transport sector amounted to ca. 31.7 TWh in 2019, divided up into 22.5 TWh biodiesel, 8.5 TWh bioethanol and 0.7 TWh biomethane
The share of biomass in ...
Metals are perfect for recycling if they can be segregated according to type. They can be returned to production cycles again and again with there being practically no loss in quality. Compared to producing new metal from virgin ore, recycling not only conserves large volumes of resources but energy as well.
Recycling drinks cans & co. to make new products requires 20 times less energy than when the virgin raw material bauxite is used. This also means a 95% reduction in carbon emissions
Using recycled raw materials instead of producing metals from primary resources reduces emissions dramatically
The amount of energy saved by our recycling activities each year covers the requirements of 1.7 million three-person households
The more steel and iron that are recycled, the less ore needs to be mined. This not only conserves resources, it is also good for our environment and our climate
The majority of the energy needed to produce metals comes from coal. This means that systematic recycling reduces the amount of coal that needs to be mined
* These calculations are based on the amount of steel, aluminium and copper recycled by the TSR Group in 2019 as well as on data published by BDEW [Federal Water & Energy Association] and BIR
** These calculations are based on the amount of steel recycled by the TSR Group in 2019 as well as on data published by BIR
Plastic is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it can be used practically everywhere and has a host of advantages. On the other, it can become a real problem for our environment if it is carelessly discarded. Which is why every effort must be made to systematically collect it as waste so it can be returned to production cycles.
According to the UBA [German Environment Agency], there were between 100 and 150 million tonnes of waste in our seas and oceans in 2013. 60% of this was made of plastic
In 2015, almost 99% of all plastic waste that was collected was recycled
The different types of plastic waste (by weight) collected from private households
Every tonne of recycled plastic cuts carbon emissions by up to 1.6 tonnes, preserves 2 tonnes of crude oil and is one tonne less of floating waste in our seas and oceans
1.4 million tonnes of plastic packaging ends up in the German retail sector every year. Germany’s new Packaging Law stipulates that plastic recycling rates must gradually be increased. In 2019, the figure lay at 36%; in 2022, it is already 63%
CO2 savings amounting to 60 million tonnes could be achieved in Germany alone if the industry there increased their use of recyclate from the current 15% to 30% – equivalent to approx. one-third of the potential of renewable energy
With e-mobility experiencing a boom, the number of lithium-ion batteries found on the market is also increasing. But what happens when these batteries have to be eventually discarded?
Batteries are categorised as hazardous waste and should never been thrown away in the general rubbish bin. Lithium-ion batteries, in particular, can ignite or even explode
Around 41 million battery-run cars are expected to be on the roads around the world in 2050
The battery makes up 40% of the cost of an electric car. What’s more, the price of cobalt and lithium, two raw materials needed to make the batteries, are constantly rising. And all this in an extremely volatile market. Which is why it would be wise to recycle cobalt and co. here in Germany wherever possible
Buildings are constantly being put up or pulled down. The amount of mineral waste generated by this work is enormous. Which means there is a great potential here to recover and recycle raw materials – both simply to process the materials as well as to make recycled building products
According to the Federal Statistical Office, construction and demolition activities in Germany produce over half of all waste generated in the country
REMONDIS’ company REMEX transports, processes and recycles 1.7 million tonnes of earth every year, carrying out remediation work so brownfield sites can be reused
Mineral waste is perfect for recycling and for using as recycled building material. This is one of the reasons why the recycling rate is clearly above that mandated by law
There is not only a whole bunch of interesting fact and figures about our operations – but also about the REMONDIS Group in general. We have summarised these for you in a series of infographics which can be found below.
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