This text was translated automatically.// At the C2C Congress 2021, we spoke to Herwart Wilms, Managing Director of Remondis Assets & Services, about the circular economy and recyclable product design. You can watch the interview on YouTube or read the transcript here.
Why is C2C an important approach?
When we talk about recycling management, many people, especially in Germany, have the impression that we are talking about waste management. However, cycles do not start with the waste, they start with the product – and the idea of Cradle to Cradle is to look right there and say: Here a product has to be designed in such a way that it actually becomes recyclable. So reuse instead of consumption, that’s the basic idea.
How can waste disposal service providers contribute to a circular economy?
If we can help to ensure that we start collecting as well as possible separately from households and bring the waste to good sorting plants with the best possible technology, we have considerable opportunities to also contribute to reducing CO2. This is possible if we can process all the dissipative things we have – i.e. where we lose something or something is dirty – in such a way that we can put it back into the cycle. But the prerequisite is that products are designed in such a way that they can actually be recycled. The tip to engineers is a bit stolen from the Catholic Church. The tip is: What people connect, they should also be able to separate again.
Why should companies consider C2C for their future?
Cradle to Cradle is older than the new idea of the Green New Deal, but the European Union has decided to go for this Green New Deal and one of the main pillars in it is the circular economy. Anyone who does not understand how to design their products in the future in such a way that they are actually recyclable, and who does not use recycled raw materials as raw materials, will no longer have a product that they can bring to the market by 2050 at the latest. Incidentally, the European Commission also ensures that you no longer get any financing for your systems etc. That means that Cradle to Cradle as an idea has now arrived in the real world and if we are talking about 2050, then it will probably be implemented.
Herwart Wilms has been Managing Director of the Remondis Group since 2005. Before that, he worked as general sales manager and spokesman for the management at RWE. He studied economics and social sciences as well as German.