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29. May 2024

That was IFAT 2024 – looking back at our week at the trade fair

A well-attended trade fair stand and numerous discussion rounds with REMONDIS participation

Five days of the trade fair are behind us, and we can say: IFAT 2024 was a complete success! From 13 to 17 May 2024, experts in environmental technologies gathered in Munich to discuss challenges and initiate solutions together. The figures from Messe München also confirm that IFAT Munich remains the undisputed world’s leading trade fair for water, sewage, waste and raw materials management:

Therefore, around 142,000 visitors from nearly 170 countries and regions attended IFAT 2024 –  this corresponds to the record level of 2018. The share of international visitors was over 50 percent and thus higher than ever. With 300,000 square meters of space, IFAT Munich 2024 was also the largest ever. A record 3,211 exhibitors presented their services to an interested trade audience.

As one of the world’s leading private recycling, service and water companies, REMONDIS has made IFAT a fixed date in its calendar. Nowhere else are the relevant topics and issues within the sector covered as comprehensively as in Munich. There was, therefore, no question that the three business sectors would once again be there this year to showcase their wide range of activities.

Thomas Conzendorf, member of the Management Board REMONDIS:

“In an increasingly technological world with ever more complex products, the circular economy is facing immense challenges. At IFAT, we can discuss these issues with customers, partners and new contacts and work on solutions together. IFAT is an important forum for us as a group because it combines the relevant topics and issues of the water and recycling industries in the most efficient way.”

In focus: Our main stand in Hall A6

As always, our presence at the trade fair centred on our main stand in Hall A6. Representatives from the three business sectors recycling, service and water presented themselves here and were available for discussions with new contacts and old acquaintances. There was a lively atmosphere on all five days of the fair, and we would like to thank everyone who stopped by our main stand.

SDG: 17 Sustainable Development Goals

Once again, the colourful SDG pillars and the accompanying monitors proved to be a central element: numerous visitors came to our stand to find out more about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and, at the same time, to learn more about the REMONDIS Group’s wide range of activities and services.

The pillars also had an entertaining factor, which even attracted one or two mascots.

The SDG pillars were once again the “gateway” to our main stand

Good things last – like our trade fair stand

Finally, we can announce that the trade fair stand has earned us the title of GoGreen Pioneer. For IFAT Munich 2024, Messe München was looking for exhibitors who are taking particularly creative, innovative, or consistent measures to make their trade fair appearance more sustainable.

What particularly characterises our trade fair presence is a reusable stand concept through sustainable design and modular construction. For example, we use hard-wearing materials that can often be used for more than 10 years. Our flooring consists of carpet tiles that are made from CO₂-neutral recycled materials and can be used at many other trade fairs. And we use rental furniture to avoid having to buy new furniture. These are just a few examples that show: sustainability is also a particular concern for us at trade fairs!

Federal Minister for the Environment Steffi Lemke at the BDE stand (© BDE e.V.)

Tour by the Federal Minister for the Environment

Over the course of the week, we were able to meet and discuss with various delegations, present our group of companies and get to know other companies. This resulted in interesting conversations from which we will certainly benefit in the future.

On the very first day of the trade fair, Steffi Lemke, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection, stopped by on her tour at the BDE stand. Herwart Wilms, Managing Director of REMONDIS and Vice President of the BDE (2nd from right), took the opportunity to talk to Mrs Lemke.

There were many topics for discussion, as the circular economy and resource conservation need good laws and the support of politicians. In particular, protection against battery fires is currently a major concern for BDE member companies, so the demand for a battery deposit was once again emphasised to the Federal Environment Minister.

Actively combating the shortage of skilled labour

IFAT is not only an ideal forum for long-standing experts in the water and recycling industry. Young professionals will also find many points of contact here to get to know the industry better and gain inspiration for their future careers.

Michael Thews, SPD member of the German Bundestag for the constituency of Hamm, Lünen, Selm and Werne, visited the trade fair in Munich with prospective environmental protection technicians from the Freiherr-vom-Stein vocational college in Werne. The group also stopped by our main stand to find out more about starting a career at REMONDIS and to talk about the Sustainable Development Goals on our SDG pillars.

Michael Thews visited IFAT with the next generation of environmental engineers

Spotlight Area „Circularity for E-Mobility“

“Green” cars will only be a reality if all the components installed in the car become recyclable. At IFAT 2024, a lot of attention was paid to the topic of circularity for electromobility – as a special area but also in various discussion rounds and presentations. We would like to highlight the special area in particular at this point.

True to the motto ‘From Car to Car’, TSR Recycling GmbH & Co. KG, Mercedes-Benz AG, Aurubis, LRP-Autorecycling , BLC – The Battery Lifecycle Company, voestalpine, BDE Bundesverband der Deutschen Entsorgungs-, Wasser- und Kreislaufwirtschaft e. V. and Verband der Automobilindustrie (VDA) e.V. organised their joint ‘Circularity for E-Mobility’ stand at the IFAT Munich. Using cars as an example, they presented successful lighthouse projects that show how material life cycles are already being effectively and sustainably closed today.

From the proper dismantling of end-of-life vehicles, to the recovery and processing of the post-consumer materials they contain, through to the reuse of the recovered recycled raw materials: Using the steel, aluminium, copper and plastic material streams, they showed that a well-functioning circular economy is what is needed to make the green transition a success as well as to ensure Germany and Europe remain a sustainable business location. With mobility and mobility concepts continuously evolving, they believe it is important to take a holistic view of this subject, and so they also had a look at battery recycling.

Image 1: REMONDIS press spokesman Michael Schneider led through the lecture programme

Bild 2: Parliamentary State Secretary Dr Franziska Brantner from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action visited the Spotlight Area (© TSR)

Dealing with lithium-ion batteries, climate change scenarios

We were also part of the “Special Show Plastics”, which was launched at IFAT 2022 and has now been successfully continued. The aim was to work with numerous partner companies to highlight the benefits of mechanical recycling and showcase our respective contributions to the value chain for high-quality plastics recycling.

We also had a prominent position in the atrium between Halls A6 and B6: On the one hand, our colleagues from RETRON presented their solutions for the professional handling and recycling of lithium-ion batteries. On the other hand, our experience container could be viewed here. In it, we used various scenarios to demonstrate the consequences of climate change in a vivid and physically tangible way. At the same time, we emphasise the role of the circular economy in the combating climate change.

In this article, we have provided a brief review of IFAT 2024, with no guarantee of completeness.

Of course, the next date has already been set: IFAT will open its doors again in Munich from 4 to 8 May 2026!

Image credits: image 1-5, 7-8: © REMONDIS; image 6: © BDE e.V.; image 9: © TSR


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