IFAT Industry Insights

Digging deeper: Ludger Rethmann about consequences of the Covid-19 crisis

Ludger Rethmann, Chairman of the Executive Board, Remondis SE & Co KG

IFAT | Amid the coronavirus pandemic, what is the biggest challenge in your business field?

Rethmann | During this pandemic, the circular economy has rightly been declared a systemically important area of economic activity. And the great importance of a smooth and hygienic handling of the remnants of our industrial society has become apparent—surprisingly for many. The collection, sorting and recycling of waste and the subsequent return of the recycled raw materials into the production cycle are among the cornerstones of social cohabitation and industrial production alike. Keeping these closely interlinked recycling processes running under all circumstances is one of the industry’s greatest challenges.

Particularly for collection and sorting it is therefore important to ensure a functioning operation by means of special hygienic measures and separation in terms of time and, if possible, space.

IFAT | What opportunities do you see in your business sector in this crisis?

Rethmann | If the global pandemic crisis opens up opportunities for our industry in the long term, will largely depend on the political course set at national and EU level. The coronavirus—like all pandemics of the last centuries—is expected to recede into the background after a certain period of time—on average about two years—if not disappear completely. Then, at the latest, it will become clear that the much larger and in the long term more threatening problem is climate change. We are therefore well advised to direct investments aimed at supporting our economy towards more sustainable production. Recycling already makes an incredibly significant contribution to protecting resources and the climate. This effect needs to be amplified. We are therefore committed to an unchanged, consistent implementation of the European Green Deal, as it is the greatest opportunity for our industry: climate protection and the future of the European economy as a whole.

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