Twinning partner meeting and the Learning Journey in Kempten
How does it work: waste avoidance?
ZAK Kempten is a partner in the EU SURFACE programme and a role model for the reuse of used items
"ReUse" - is not only a matter that the Zweckverbandfandfor Abfallwirtschaft Kempten (ZAK) has taken up, but is also a Europe-wide project with the nameSURFACE. Participants from the nine participating partner countries met at the beginning of December in Kempten: Germany - and the ZAK in particular - is currently the beacon of all ReUse projects within the EU.
The districts of Lindau and Oberallgäu as well as the city of Kempten have joined forces to form the Zweckverband für Ab-fallwirtschaft Kempten (ZAK) (Association for Waste Management in Kempten). The aim of theZAK is to solve the waste management tasks of "avoidance, recycling and disposal" for more than 300,000 inhabitants in the area of theZweckverband, i.e. to minimise the quantities of residual waste, to guarantee safe disposal and to provide waste management facilities such as recycling islands and recycling yards, the digestion plant and composting plant for biowaste as well as the waste and wood-fired combined heat and power plant in Kempten.
ZAK attaches the greatest importance to environmental and climate protection. " ReUse" is one of the ways in which society can lead to a more sustainable way of life in order to achieve the goals of climate protection, environmental protection and careful use of valuable resources. For this reason, the legal requirement of waste avoidance also comes first for theZAK.
"However, the ZAK cannot operate ReUse alone; its success lies more in cooperation and joint action. In our region, there are already many institutions, companies, associations and initiatives of citizens are on their way and ready to change their minds or act differently", says Claudia Mayer, Project Manager " ReUse" at ZAK Waste Management. One of the main tasks of the "ReUse" department at ZAK is therefore creative and determined networking. "We want to bring together and bundle the ideas, resources and know-how of companies, associations, social and official institutions right down to the individual citizen and implement concrete projects".
In July 2019, for example, ZAK took over the second-hand department store in Kempten, which was launched in April 2018, as the operator. The ZAK will also be the main shareholder of the company opportunity in Lindau from January 2020.
With the used goods department stores in Lindau and Linden-berg, the company has two already established facilities at its disposal to recycle used items. Together with the ZAK Box introduced in 2018, the second-hand shops in the ZZAK area have already saved 150 tons of "bulky waste" in the period 2018 to 2019. In this way, the ZAK fulfils its statutory goals of waste avoidance and reuse.
At the beginning of December, representatives from the partner countries of the EU's SURFACE programme looked at how these already very successful ReUse projects work. They took part in a twinning meeting in Kempten were guests at the ZAK and visited the second-hand department store there and the second-hand department store of the Chance company in Lindau.
"Our society consume huge quantities of goods and resources every day, and the resulting massive increase in waste has negative consequences for the environment, and new products require energy and raw materials. We must break through this cycle," says Claudia Mayer of theZAK. In this context, the European Union is also called upon to take action and has therefore launched the SURFACE programme with its partner countries Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Italy and Slovenia. Within the framework of the three-year EU project, the following pilot regions will be involved (Austria, Italy, Germany, Poland, Hungary) Smart-Re-Use Parks were installed, in four others the preparations were made.
In addition to the second-hand department stores and the ZAK Box, Claudia Mayer has also presented the latest project of the ZAK: the Recycling Centre of the Future, which is currently being built in Sonthofen and will open in 2020. "Our European partners were impressed by the collection rate of household goods and reusable materials and were able to convince themselves that our concepts are effective."
In the partner countries, other measures are partly carried out, but different conditions and structures prevail, be it that the quality of the used things that can be reused is not as high as in the ZAK's sphere of influence. Or that other organizations also have access to the used objects, which, however, do not pursue the goal of bringing them into the reuse cycle. " SURFACE is about learning from each other. We make our respective concepts and strategies available, so we have also documented everything at ZAKalles and uploaded it to a cloud. Our partners have access to calculation models, business plans, see examples of cooperation possibilities, etc. This platform will develop and, even after the end of the SURFACE program, will continue to provide the tools for everyone to work out and implement concepts and strategies for their country-specific use instead of throwing them away," says Claudia Mayer. She knows: " ReUse does not exist for free. Due to its history and its fields of activity, the ZAK is a strong partner who also takes money into its hands to build a functioning reuse cycle.“