THE WIEDERKEHR GROUP
IN FACTS AND FIGURES
Locations in Switzerland and Germany
Wiederkehr Recycling is well known in recycling management, and has a reach that extends far beyond Switzerland’s borders. Something that started as a small workshop in 1959 has long established itself as a brand well known around the world. Back in the day, company founder Xaver Wiederkehr started out by trading only in scrap metal, mostly from scrapped cars. Compounding and separating metals was something he had learned from his father’s business. No wonder then that he went on to complete a welder apprenticeship. This was followed by years of learning and journeying to deepen his knowledge and gain experience. But Xaver Wiederkehr wanted to do more – to know more, discover more and achieve more. The idea he had when he was barely 22 years old, to recycle old worn-out products, was not entirely new but it was hugely underestimated in terms of its scope and importance. His vision – to reprocess 100% of recyclables – is a clear sign of where the company was headed.
In the 1950s no one yet talked about protecting the environment or recycling as we know it today. In those days scrapped cars were burned in the early hours of the morning amidst huge clouds of smoke, and what was left was then taken to a furnace. An unbelievable waste of resources. Xaver Wiederkehr was unorthodox, a can-do personality and a visionary. He recognised the potential buried in the mounting piles of waste and worked single-mindedly on new solutions for reprocessing recyclables. This involved not only optimising processes but also developing innovative machines. The first scrap metal baler was thus created in 1965, with Switzerland’s first shredder facility coming seven years later and, in 1975, the first scrap shears. The 80s saw the development of a sink-float separation system, which significantly increased the volumes that could be handled by the sorting process. Alongside these technical developments, Xaver Wiederkehr was also expanding the scope of the company both in terms of geography and workforce. More sites were acquired, redeveloped and expanded. The number of employees grew. Synergising individual facilities allowed Wiederkehr to expand the geographical range and become more efficient in executing new and innovative waste management concepts.
The 1970s saw a shift in people’s thinking and behaviour. Environmental agencies were formed and restrictions on waste incineration were tightened. The ecological and economic importance of recovering raw materials rapidly gained momentum. Industrialisation, with its constantly increasing volumes of waste, was taking its toll. Resources became noticeably shorter in supply and industry looked increasingly to alternative solutions.
Environmental protection and sustainability are now areas central to industry. The increasing demand for secondary raw materials is showing us the way. This requires the highest standards of technology. The research department at the Wiederkehr Group works tirelessly to break new ground in the optimisation of processes and technologies. Back in 2007 we started a pilot project recycling waste material from ASR and successfully brought the facility into operation in Waltenschwil. A milestone on the road to 100% recycling.
This family-run business is still owner-operated today. Values like responsibility, innovation and sustainability are the lifeblood of the company, while close partnerships with clients and associated businesses are held dear. A broad network of strong partnerships, a motivated team and – not least – the utmost in technological expertise all form the foundations of our success. The Wiederkehr Group has supported and shaped the development of recycling right from the start. With innovative concepts, just as the visions of the company’s founder would have had it. The context has changed. The aim is the same. To recirculate raw materials.
The Wiederkehr Group currently includes two locations in Switzerland in Waltenschwil, Aargau and Schwarzenbach, St. Gallen as well as a site in Lauchringen, Germany. The head office of our group of enterprises is in Waltenschwil. This is also where the research department sits as well as our office for coordinating international purchasing and sales. In addition to our subsidiaries we also have a longstanding partnership with SCMR Wiederkehr Recycling GmbH in Polleben, Germany.
Founding of Wiederkehr Recycling, Autoverwertung und Alteisenhandel (recycling, car recycling and scrap metal trading)
Xaver Wiederkehr, Wohlen in the canton of Aargau, Switzerland
Acquisition of current company site
Waltenschwil near Wohlen in Aargau
First scrap metal baler
Formation of haulage firm TRAWO AG,
Site expansion by 400 m2, construction of company building and truck scale
First shredder facility in Switzerland
First scrap metal shears built
New shredder with dust extraction system
Acquisition of AVO Schwarzenbach
canton of St. Gallen, Switzerland
Celebrating 25 years of the company
New shredder facility and shears,
Joint development of Thyssen Henschel system
Switzerland’s first sink-float separation system
Acquisition of recycling company SMV Schrott- und Metallverwertung GmbH
Lauchringen in Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Opening of rail connection on company premises
New factory hall with sorting and separation facilities for composites
Introduction of colour spectroscopy analysis
Improvement of automated waste separation
of non-magnetic metals
Formation of sorting plant in China, SCMR Swiss China Metals Resources Ltd.
Guangdong, Hong Kong
Technology supplement through
Partnership with SCMR Deutschland GmbH
in Eisleben, Polleben district in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany,
Europe’s most cutting-edge composite separation facility
Formation of Wiederkehr Recycling Co. Ltd. in Japan
Launch of pilot facility for recycling waste material from ASR
Third place in Northern Switzerland enterprise award
Aargau enterprise award
Aargauischer Gewerbeverband (Aargau trade association), Aargauer Kantonalbank
Initial discussions for setting up a thermal recycling plant using shredder residues
Business expansion with SMV Wiederkehr Recycling GmbH
Cooperation agreement between JFE Group in Japan and Wiederkehr Recycling AG
JFE Group is world’s fourth-largest steel producer
Formation of Eco-Carbon AG
Celebrating 60 years of the company Ceremony with open day
Formation of Wierec Trading AG and Wierec Services GmbH
Formation of the Wiederkehr Group