Sustainability is not only the focus of our business but of our company philosophy as well. Thanks to our main area of expertise – namely recycling – we play a major role in conserving raw materials all around the world as well as in reducing the negative impact that the mining of virgin materials has on our climate and environment. But that’s not all: we are also actively involved in all other areas that focus on conserving natural resources and our planet for future generations. The simple fact is that both the current climate action plans and the goal to limit global warming to a maximum 1.5°C can only be achieved with the circular economy in general and REMONDIS in particular.
We operate Europe’s largest industrial recycling centre in the German town of Lünen. Covering 230 hectares, this site is home to state-of-the-art recycling technologies able to handle a whole range of different material streams. Thanks to these technologies – some of which were developed at the Lippe Plant itself – we are able to return 25 million tonnes of materials to production cycles all around the world or use them to produce resource-friendly recycled raw materials. Activities that have an impressive impact when it comes to tackling climate change. Our operations at the Lippe Plant alone cut annual carbon emissions by around 500,000 tonnes – achieving the same positive effect on the climate as a 25,000-hectare forest. And the Lippe Plant is certainly not the only place where we reduce carbon emissions with our recycling operations. We have over 500 plants and facilities all around the world. Together, they play a considerable role in helping to curb climate change. Something that is also very much in accordance with the wishes of the EU, which is looking to the circular economy to help it achieve its Green Deal as it strives to reach its goal of being net zero by 2050.
Being an leading international business operating in the circular economy with around 800 locations across vier continents, we help to conserve and deliver a sustainable supply of natural resources in practically all corners of the globe. In order to establish standardised processes – first and foremost in the area of waste treatment – we are involved in diverse flagship projects in many different countries, all of which are excellent examples of sustainability. These range from nappy and coffee pod recycling in the Netherlands all the way through to recovering ferrous and non-ferrous metals in Singapore. A project, by the way, that was presented with the Asia Green Business Award. And then there are the innovative milestones such as the plants we have built here in Germany to recover phosphorus and to sort light packaging materials. By transferring these technologies, we can help ensure that the very most can be made of their positive impact – so they help protect natural resources and curb climate change all around the world.
Find out more about climate action and the circular economy
A climate action project and recycling centre all in one: REMONDIS’ Lippe Plant in Lünen
There are two reasons why relying on virgin raw materials is leading us down a blind alley. Firstly, the Earth’s reserves are finite and they will never be able to cover the requirements of the 10 billion people who will soon be populating our planet. Secondly, extracting raw materials from the ground and consuming them require high amounts of energy and cause climate-damaging emissions. With this in mind, there really is no alternative but to gradually switch over to recycled raw materials. We are doing everything in our power to speed up this transition. This means that we not only produce high quality recycled raw materials but also campaign for them to be used more widely by industry and the construction sector. The key words here: minimum content mandates. These set minimum recycled content requirements for new products.
We produce a whole range of recycled raw materials including different kinds of plastic pellets
The EU’s Ecodesign Directive has been in force since 2009 with the member states transposing it into national law in a variety of ways. The goal of the directive is to get companies to design and make their products so that they have as little impact on the climate as possible. Up to now, focus has primarily been put on reducing emissions and energy consumption during production processes. We believe this is not enough and are campaigning for an Ecodesign Directive that truly lives up to its name. One really important point, for example, would be for manufacturers to systematically consider their use of raw materials from the end of their products’ useful life backwards. In other words, to develop their products so that all of the materials contained in them can be recovered for reuse. The use of recycled raw materials in production processes also plays an important role. What is needed here is to integrate raw material efficiency into the Ecodesign Directive as well. We have already developed a suitable label for this.
Real choice is only possible if you have all the facts.
Which is why there should be a raw material efficiency label on all consumer goods that shows just how sustainable, resource-friendly and recyclable a product actually is.
At our company, there are many facets to sustainability. One of them is ensuring that non-recyclable materials are processed so that they do not have a negative impact on our climate. We do this by using environmentally sound systems to thermally treat materials that cannot be recycled or that are not allowed to be recycled because of their hazardous content. By doing so, we generate 330,000 megawatt hours of renewable energy (heat and electricity) every year at REMONDIS’ Lippe Plant alone – Europe’s largest industrial recycling centre. Moreover, we also operate a variety of modern waste incineration plants across both Europe and the world. They all contribute greatly towards the energy transition and the gradual phasing out of the climate and environment-damaging coal-fired and nuclear power stations.
Our goal is to cut emissions wherever possible. And a great deal could be achieved when it comes to landfills. Which is why we are campaigning for it to be illegal across the whole of Europe for residual materials containing organic residue to be landfilled – something that has been the case in Germany since 2005. It doesn’t take long to explain why we feel this way: landfills containing organic residue emit huge volumes of methane – a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more damaging than CO2. A Europe-wide landfill ban would, therefore, be a major coup in the battle against climate change. The amount of GHG emissions caused by the waste management sector would be cut by 67% in one fell swoop. Gradually closing down the innumerable rubbish tips all around the world would have an even greater impact on reducing emissions. All too often the waste at these sites are simply burned – something that is dangerous for both humans and the environment.
You can tell just how important sustainability is to us as we have dedicated a whole website to this subject. This REMONDIS website illustrates just how sustainable our company is and also explains what we are doing to make society more aware of issues such as recycling, environmental protection and resource conservation. Moreover, it is full of general facts about sustainability and sustainable development – some of which are presented as downloadable infographics.
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