Schwarz Group wants to invest in dual system

The Schwarz Group, to which the discounter Lidl belongs, wants to advance the waste disposal and recycling business.

“We are clearly focusing on growth,” says Gerd Chrzanowski, Chairman of Schwarz Zentrale Dienste KG. Following the takeover of the Tönsmeier Group in 2018, Germany’s fifth-largest waste management company, the Schwarz Group is preparing its next step in the waste management and recycling business. With the sales brand PreZero, founded in September, the group intends to increase its turnover in the next five years by 50 percent to 750 million euros. In the last financial year 2017, the Neckarsulm-based company generated sales of around 500 million euros. The waste management company, which is active at 80 locations throughout Germany as well as in Poland and the Netherlands, is thus one of the top five in Germany. PreZero concentrates on the disposal and recycling of recyclable materials such as packaging, paper and cardboard, bulky waste, food and commercial waste. PreZero cooperates with 200 regional waste disposal companies and offers customers the opportunity to have waste disposal offers made on its digital platform. Gerd Chrzanowski sees growth opportunities in various areas: “We want to be a partner to both local authorities and small and medium-sized waste disposal companies. We will also make special offers to major customers. He sees additional opportunities through increasing regulation and the growing demand for high-quality recycling material. Since 2009, the Schwarz subsidiary GreenCycle has been collecting and recycling plastic waste from its subsidiaries Lidl and Kaufland.

Own Dual System until 2021

“For us, recyclables are in the wrong place,” says Dietmar Böhm, Managing Director of PreZero. This makes the Schwarz Group the only trading company in Germany that can close the recyclables cycle from a single source. “For the future, we are planning investments in new technologies and sorting capacities in the three-digit million range,” Böhm continues. In addition, the company is working on setting up its own dual system by 2021. The applications for licenses have been submitted, explained Henning Stegmayer, Head of Corporate Communications. This would give the company the opportunity to license packaging material nationwide. Manufacturers and retailers are obliged to participate in a dual system – known as a packaging licence – for their sales packaging.

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The people of Neckarsulm have already secured themselves a symbol for sustainability: As part of a strategic partnership, the experts have been advising the Bundesliga soccer team TSG Hoffenheim since early 2019 on the implementation of resource-efficient materials management and supporting disposal. Meanwhile, Chrzanowski is calling on politicians to improve the framework conditions for recycling companies: An incentive system must be created for higher recyclate content in packaging and functioning collection systems installed in Europe. However, a plastic tax would not lead to the goal, according to Chrzanowski.

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