As is the case for all waste incineration plants in Germany, GMVA is subject to the regulations set out in the ‘17. BImSchV’ [17th Ordinance of the Federal Emissions Control Act], which prescribes extremely low flue gas emission limit values in order to protect the environment. We believe it is our responsibility to do more than simply comply with these mandatory limits – which is why GMVA focuses on efficiency, safety and sustainability to ensure all its emission values are well below those prescribed by law.
Reducing emissions to an absolute minimum is just one of the many environmentally friendly aspects of GMVA’s work. Incinerating non-recyclable waste also helps to conserve our planet’s natural resources in two different ways:
What many people do not realise is that thermally treating waste actually cuts carbon emissions and so helps to prevent climate change. Whilst 100% of fossil fuel impacts on the climate, up to 70% of waste is made up of renewable raw materials – such as wood or organic waste from households. As these raw materials store carbon dioxide whilst they are growing, they do not put an extra burden on the climate when they are incinerated. Moreover, thermal treatment is also a more eco-friendly solution than sending waste to landfill. The methane gases produced by the landfilled waste and released into the atmosphere are thirty times more harmful for our climate than the carbon dioxide released through incineration. This was one of the main reasons why a law was introduced in Germany in 2005 banning untreated organic waste from being taken to landfill.
Around 50% of the mixture of waste treated by GMVA is biogenic, for which GMVA is issued guarantees of origin in accordance with the ‘EEG’ [Renewable Energy Sources Act].
50% of GMVA’s electricity is from regenerative fuels, i.e. 330,000 MWh ÷ 2 = 165,000 MWh of energy from renewable sources. A modern coastal wind turbine – with an output of 1 MW and operating at full rate – generates around 2,000 MWh of electricity over a period of 2,000 hours. This means, therefore, that GMVA produces the same amount of power as approximately 82.5 wind turbines (165,000 MWh ÷ 2,000 MWh). GMVA, however, also generates electricity when there is no wind.
We not only make an important contribution to society by operating a waste incineration plant and supplying energy to the region, we also feel very close to the people living and working in Oberhausen. We demonstrate our commitment to the local community in a number of ways – by participating in a variety of social and regional projects as well as by really listening to the concerns of the local inhabitants. Having a waste incineration plant as your neighbour is, of course, not the norm. Which is why it is so important for the company to accept the responsibilities resulting from this and play an active role in the community. Being a member of the local interest group, igl, is just one example of many.
Taking part in the ‘Lange Nacht der Industrie’ [Industry at Night] is a matter of course for us as is participating in ‘Girls’ Day’. We are, however, also involved in activities that focus on topics other than potential careers or our business.
‘Lange Nacht der Industrie’
GMVA regularly takes part in the ‘Industry at Night’ event which enables those interested to take a tour around our waste incineration plant. Unfortunately, we were unable to commit to the programme in 2017. To learn more about the event go to langenachtderindustrie.de
The objective of the annual Girls’ Day is to enable girls to find out more about potential careers. GMVA also opens its doors for this event, inviting those participating to join in our workshops to get to know about the jobs at our plant. Our trainers are also on hand to answer any questions the girls may have.
People wishing to sign up to the Girls' Day can online via www.girls-day.de in Girls` Day radar.
Second-hand bicycle sale
Once a year, GMVA holds a large second-hand bicycle sale on its grounds.
Each and every day, we demonstrate that environmental protection and waste incineration go hand in hand by ensuring that our emission values remain well below the legal limits. There is, however, more to environmental commitment than simply looking at technology.
Protecting endangered species
Every year, a peregrine falcon returns to GMVA to nest on one of its chimneys. What was once a cute anecdote has now become a full-blown project to protect this species. Working closely together with the Biologische Station Ruhrgebiet e. V., we look after our part-time feathered tenants as they raise their young.
GMVA is a business with very strong ties to the region. It goes without saying, therefore, that we also play an active role when it comes to culture and education.
The City of Oberhausen’s Action Guide
The Action Guide is a cultural and educational concept initiated by Oberhausen’s Youth Welfare Office. We have been supporting this programme in a number of ways for many years now, for example by allowing them to use our seminar room free of charge. Up to ten children are invited to our plant during the summer holidays to learn about the magic of digital photography. Here, they can spend an exciting few hours in our creative photography workshop. They also, of course, get to go on a tour of the waste incineration plant while they are there. To learn more go to action-guide-oberhausen.de
The “Die Müllschlucker” carnival society
Not only GMVA was established in 1972 but also the Lirich carnival society, “Die Müllschlucker e. V.” [waste guzzlers]. As our roots are so closely intertwined, we support the youth work carried out by the carnival society’s majorette group by allowing them to use our rooms free of charge. We also help the society to prepare and put on their traditional gala evening. www.lkg-diemuellschlucker.de
The independent inspection and certification body, Qualitäts- und Umweltgutachter GmbH, has issued GMVA with accreditation confirming it to be a specialised waste management company (EfbV). This certifies that the plant fulfils all requirements set out for treating, recycling and disposing of waste. This certificate is not only important to us but also to our customers as they can rest assured that they are working with a partner who is both reliable and competent.