Brandenburg an der Havel. The green economy is on its way to becoming one of Germany’s key industries. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was able to see this for himself when he visited the REMONDIS Group in Brandenburg an der Havel. The Group is planning to build a highly innovative facility for recovering metals and plastics from fractions of waste containing metal. The REMINE project, which has involved a seven-figure investment sum, is being seen as a lighthouse project for the whole of the recycling sector.
“We are looking to invest in a future-proof industry that provides secure jobs and plays an important role in protecting the environment and curbing climate change,” commented Bernd Fleschenberg, managing director of TSR Recycling GmbH & Co. KG, the company implementing the REMINE project. “In the future, the plant in Brandenburg an der Havel and its state-of-the-art recycling technology will enable us to transform waste fractions and intermediary products into recycled raw materials which can then be supplied to industrial businesses. REMINE will, therefore, be making a significant contribution towards creating a sustainable circular economy as well as towards protecting our climate.”
According to the latest figures, the turnover of the green economy in Germany (relating to services, goods and technology that protect the environment) lay at a total of 114,000 million euros in 2012. What’s more, according to the Green Economy Report North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), the sector has become more innovative over the last few years. The number of patent applications relating to the green economy across the country amounted to 4.8 patents per 1,000 employees in 2012 – putting it on par with the engineering sector. The recycling sector and the green economy are, therefore, closing in on the established key industries in this area as well and experts are expecting this trend to continue.
German MP Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier was interested to hear about this concept to reactivate the site of a decommissioned steelworks and about what the planned technology could achieve, for example limiting emissions. “Innovations, industrial development and environmental protection must be pursued hand in hand. This helps to secure future-proof jobs,” the SPD politician said at the end of his visit.
The green economy is creating jobs both in Germany and Europe. Several million people currently work at firms operating in the environmental sector. One particularly positive piece of news: the number of employees is expanding rapidly. According to the NRW study, the overall number of employees increased by 6% between just 2009 and 2012 – twice the rate of that of the overall economy. Across Europe, more and more people are taking up jobs in the green economy.