ITAD: The climate-friendly waste treatment association

The Association of Thermal Waste Treatment Plants in Germany (Interessengemeinschaft der Thermischen Abfallbehandlungsanlagen in Deutschland e.V. – ITAD) represents more than 90 per cent of these plants in Germany. To establish a better appreciation of climate protection and sustainability among members, the association sets an example by running its Düsseldorf office along climate-neutral lines. Now ITAD is launching two projects to make its climate-friendly ethos more widely known.

ITAD’s principal objective is to represent the interests of the plant owners and operators to the public, politicians, authorities, and other commercial and scientific organisations. But the sustainable development of the industry in a time of climate change is also a key issue.

So ITAD has set itself the target of sensitising its member companies on the subject and sets an example through its own management behaviour: ITAD, as an association, is a pioneer in climate protection and is also the first recycling industry association to carry out its activities in a carbon-neutral way. Its Düsseldorf headquarters has been climate neutral since it first opened in February 2014.

Climate protection objective:

  • Optimising of business processes with regards to sustainability and climate neutrality
  • Pilot project on sustainable development with support for members to complete sustainability reports on their facilities
  • Development of further sustainability modules

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Photo: ITAD

ITAD headquarters at Airport City Düsseldorf. It took office space there of around 170 m² in February 2014.

Climate-friendly measures mix, remaining CO2 emissions offset

The association has introduced a series of measures to keep its CO2 emissions low: ITAD obtains its electricity on a renewable energy tariff from the Düsseldorf municipal utility. And LED lights with motion detectors make the lighting in the building particularly energy-efficient. Staff travel to their business appointments is mainly climate neutral through the BahnCard 100 (subscription-based free travel rail card).

ITAD’s communication media are also climate-friendly: flyers, brochures and other printed matter are produced by printers with the Blue Angel ecolabel. Mail is sent by climate-neutral mode and all office material is from sustainable sources. Their recycled paper comes from a member company which produces energy from waste.

For the third time, the IFAD trade fair presentation at the 2016 international environmental trade fair in Munich (IFAT) was climate-neutral. Greenhouse gas emissions caused were offset through valuable climate protection projects abroad.

Since 2014, ITAD has offset all CO2 emissions which are unavoidable in the business process. Now ITAD is launching two new projects to make its sustainable ideas more widely known.

New climate protection goals: grounding sustainability in the industry and in schools

ITAD now aims to expand its commitment in the field of climate protection – as pacesetter of KlimaExpo.NRW – with two new projects:

ITAD aims to create and implement with the Institut für Nachhaltigkeitsbildung (IfN – Institute for Sustainability Education) a sector-related sustainability strategy with the member companies: an essential feature of this will be a ‘sustainability business card’, through which operators of thermal waste treatment plants can get support in reporting sustainability. The process was critically overseen by Christoph Bals (Policy Director of Germanwatch e.V.). “The sustainability business card is an innovative and considered approach for advancing the idea of sustainability reporting. It is remarkable and positive that representatives of thermal waste treatment plants are interested in sustainability reporting without being directly affected by CSR guidelines. And it is to be welcomed that ITAD has developed a ‘sustainability business card’ which makes it particularly easy for the plants in question to prepare a sustainability report,” wrote Christoph Bals in his Critical Review.

ITAD is also cooperating with IfN and Prof. Gerhard de Haan, Chairman of the German National Committee for the UN’s Education for Sustainable Development Decade (2005 – 2014), on a pilot project on education for sustainable development in schools. In this context, ITAD offers its member companies a sponsoring programme, which enables the association’s members to finance secondary schools to complete a sustainability report. In this way, students, teachers and plant employees can be made further aware of sustainability issues.

ITAD is founder member of the industry initiative Klimaschutz durch Kreislaufwirtschaft e.V. (Climate Protection through the Recycling Economy), which was launched in November 2014 as a partner of KlimaExpo.NRW, linking various associations. For the duration of KlimaExpo.NRW, this industry initiative will coordinate and communicate the activities of the NRW recycling industry.

Photo: ITAD

“The history of waste incineration began with man’s discovery of fire some 800,000 years ago. Over the past few decades, the crucial thing has been to develop an energy-efficient pollutant sink with metal recovery. Decarbonisation, of our industry as well, will be the next challenge,” says Martin Treder (responsible for energy, climate and sustainability at ITAD).

Martin Treder,deputy managing director, responsible for energy, climate and sustainability