The Flood Disaster with its Impact on the Waste Market

The flood disaster of the summer is certainly still in the memory of most of us and will remain so for some time. Hardly anyone can imagine what exactly this means for the people there. The losses are great and it will take a long time before at least some normality sets in. For this it is important, among other things, that at least “visually” a bearable state is quickly brought about. Many houses and buildings have been damaged or even torn away, the infrastructure lies fallow and there is a general picture of destruction left behind by the flood. After the chaos, the clean-up begins…

It is estimated that the entire disposal process will take several more months. Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of debris are piling up in the flooded areas, associated with hygiene risks, odour nuisance and fire hazards. But the municipal waste management companies are also flooded. On the one hand, there is a lack of incineration capacity, because not all waste can be incinerated immediately. On the other hand, some of it is too wet for the incineration plants. This waste must first be dried in interim storage facilities, but there is a lack of space for this as well.

With the unit Waste-to-Energy (WtE) and our network of over 100 power plants and processing facilities throughout Germany and neighbouring Europe, as well as our many years of experience in supraregional logistics combined with our own fleet of 40 vehicles, we have become part of this unfortunately necessary gigantic “clean-up operation”. Not an easy task. The biggest challenge was and is to direct the highly fluctuating qualities to the right recycling channels.

Nevertheless, in the past 8 weeks we were able to take away about 700 loads of waste from the flooded areas. This corresponds to a quantity of around 15,000 tonnes. Perhaps only a drop in the ocean in some places. But this kind of event has given our WtE department the opportunity to show how flexible we are and what possibilities our network offers to react quickly and professionally. And it is precisely this task of supra-regional supply and disposal when local markets are overstretched that we see as our core task in the waste market. Both nationally and increasingly internationally.