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From left to right: Mag. Thomas Traussnigg, Authorised Officer Saubermacher Dienstleistungs AG, DI Ralf Mittermayr, Spokesman of the Board of Saubermacher Dienstleistungs AG, Dr. Stefan Heinze, Notary, Dr. Timo Langemann, Member of the Management Team at INTERSEROH Dienstleistungs GmbH, as well as Andreas Schelle, Managing Director INTERSEROH Product Cycle GmbH, at the contract signing ceremony.

SIMPLi RETURN: Interseroh and Saubermacher have created the first global recycling service for lithium-ion batteries

Responding to the challenges of e-mobility

Feldkirchen near Graz/Cologne. Interseroh and Saubermacher have pooled their expertise and established a joint venture for taking back and recycling lithium-ion batteries called 
SIMPLi RETURN. As the first global take-back system in this sector, SIMPLi RETURN offers all-round consulting, as well as the organisation of professional transport and environmentally friendly recycling. The services provided by SIMPLi RETURN are oriented towards manufacturers and distributors of lithium-ion batteries for the industrial sector and all types of electronic vehicles.

The joint venture, SIMPLi RETURN, provides all services along the entire waste management chain all around the world from a single source. Thanks to the optimised process organisation, placing orders is simple, the entire recycling cycle is transparent and comprehensible, and gap-free documentation is guaranteed. To ensure safe transport, special containers will be made available and the packaging of batteries will take place on-site. By using existing infrastructures and expertise, the global recycling service can be implemented very quickly.

Interseroh is one of the leading providers of environmental services when it comes to the closure of product, material and logistics loops. For over 25 years, the company has developed individual and industry-specific concepts for customers all over Europe so that they can avoid waste and operate more efficiently. Even the processing of IT and communication devices used for recycling is part of the company’s portfolio. Saubermacher has been internationally active in the environmental and recycling industry for almost 40 years. The company is a leader in the field of battery recycling and at the start of 2018, commissioned a new high-tech processing plant for lithium-ion batteries in Bremerhaven. After the approval of all cartel authorities, the headquarters of the company will be situated in Cologne.

“With SIMPLi RETURN, we are creating a unique, high-grade, vertically integrated provider in the future lithium-ion battery market,” explains Dr Timo Langemann, Member of the Management Team at INTERSEROH Dienstleistungs GmbH. “Together with our partner Saubermacher, we offer our customers a comprehensive, worry-free package which fully takes into account the challenging recycling in this sector,” continues Langemann.

The quantity of lithium-ion batteries is increasing year upon year with a double-digit growth rate. “If you only take into account the EV sector, the demand for lithium-ion batteries in 2015 was 205 million cells. In 2020, this demand will rise to 1,808 million units. That’s an annual growth of 37 percent[1],” explains Ralf MittermayrSpokesman of the Board of Saubermacher. This value will continue to grow in the coming decades; however, the legal requirements concerning the take-back and recycling of lithium-ion batteries are regulated differently in each country. This situation presents the manufacturers and distributors with some challenging issues regarding their disposal. What’s more, lithium-ion batteries cover a broad range of products, with regards to their composition, and, due to the fact that it is a relatively new waste material, there are few recycling plants which are suitable. “With the special recycling plant in Bremerhaven, we are able to achieve recycling targets which are significantly higher than the target values as specified by the law,” emphasises Mittermayr.

The handling of lithium-ion batteries is subject to strict legal requirements and requires high safety standards, both with damaged and intact batteries. Cross-border transport is particularly complex. In each and every case, a fully documented recycling certificate must be produced. With the help of the online portal, which was developed in-house, the entire take-back process for customers from SIMPLi RETURN has been greatly simplified and made more transparent, starting from when they place an order. All data and documentation is available at the touch of a button, and the batteries can be followed step by step on their recycling journey. “The amalgamation of the logistics and recycling expertise in the sector of taking back lithium-ion batteries is also unique in a digital context, and solves the complex requirements of our customers,” adds Langemann, talking about the further advantages of SIMPLi RETURN.

You can find more information on SIMPLi RETURN at

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Next to ALBA, Interseroh is one brand under the umbrella of the ALBA Group. The ALBA Group is one of the leading recycling and environmental services companies as well as raw material providers worldwide and operates within Germany, Europa and Asia. In 2019 its divisions generated an annual turnover of approx. 2.0 billion Euros and employed a staff of about 8,800 employees. In 2019 alone ALBA Group saved almost 4.2 million tonnes of greenhouse gases compared to primary production and at the same time about 32.3 million tonnes of primary raw materials through its recycling activities.








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