We only have one planet, and its life-supporting ecosystem is unique. We need to handle this priceless treasure as carefully as we can. The issue couldn't be any clearer. At Deutsche Bahn, this awareness has spurred us on to adopt a host of proactive measures. One is that we use only the resources that are essential for our operations, and that we reuse materials whenever possible. We believe this is the only way to ensure that future generations will have a world that they can enjoy, one with a healthy environment.
For us, protecting resources at Deutsche Bahn takes the form of scaling back consumption. Recycling is one of the main strategies we have for this: We reuse material and so extend the lifespan of our products. Our goal is to maintain a recycling level of 95 percent in 2020, but we have already surpassed that target with our 2019 results – we reached 98 percent.
We have established a host of highly effective measures designed to maximize our recycling achievements:
Recycling materials for infrastructure:
Whenever possible, we recondition physical resources so that we can reuse them. Examples include concrete ties and sleepers, track ballast and even the paving stones used on station platforms.
Longer fleet lifespans:
By redesigning our trains and upgrading the technology used in them, we can keep them in service longer. We also use innovative 3D printing techniques for the precision production of individual components, thereby reducing the unnecessary consumption of raw materials.
Recycling at the office:
Whenever possible, Deutsche Bahn's staff use digital tools to cut down on paper consumption. Nevertheless, if something needs printing, we use recycled paper.
We also go the extra mile to conserve raw materials. Some of our measures:
We only use soaps without microplastics in the bathrooms of our long distance trains.
Reusable, not single-use:
We make a point of using only reusable tableware in our staff restaurants. Similarly, we offer our customers the DB reusable cup as an alternative to cups that get thrown away after just one beverage.
Complementing our other measures, we also concentrate on offering sustainable products to our customers and staff. For example, passengers on our trains can enjoy fair-trade beverages such as coffee and tea. If a change in our menus means that we no longer plan to offer a particular food item, we don't throw remaining stock away: Instead, we donate items to charitable organizations to avoid wasting good food.