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DB and resource efficiency

Helping protect the environment by efficient use of materials and resources

DB aims to use raw materials as best and as sparingly as possible to protect natural resources. There are three main points to its approach: a high recycling rate, greater reliance on recycled materials and a longer material service life.

Raw materials are needed in all areas of rail transport, whether for train seats, speakers on train platforms or the construction of new lines. DB considers keeping consumption as low as possible an objective as well as its responsibility - for economic as well as environmental reasons. And it is a responsibility DB upholds when purchasing, recycling and disposing of materials.


Our target: High recycling rate

To improve efficient use of resources, DB wants to maintain its consistently high recycling rates. With a recycling rate of 97.3 in 2016 percent DB achieved its targets of increasing its worldwide recycling levels to 95 percent ahead of time. Recycling does not include incineration. In the future we want to maintian its consistently high recycling levels. Apart from construction waste, other types of waste need to be brought up to similarly high recycling levels.

Using raw materials as long as possible

One measure is to use resources as efficiently as possible, with reusing and repurposing playing a major role. Successive modernization of the ICE and IC fleet has greatly decreased material consumption, for example. And on top of that, DB saves up to 80 percent of the material cost incurred if it were to buy new trains.


Reusing concrete ties and ballast

DB takes the same approach when it comes to concrete ties and ballast. Both are reconditioned and reused in track beds after the end of their service life if possible. In 2015, for example, approximately 3.7 million metric tons of ballast were used, some 670,000 metric tons of which were recycled ballast that DB had removed from another location. Most of the ballast that can no longer be used in track beds is reused elsewhere, for example as chippings in road construction.

Use of recycled paper

Since 2014 DB exclusively uses recycled printing and copy paper in its offices. Its reports, such as the Annual Report and Competition Report, are already printed on 100 percent recycled paper certified with the Blue Angel seal. Using recycled paper saves valuable resources, cutting electricity buy up to 70 percent and water up to 60 percent as well as using next to no wood. 

Disposal management is a key to protect the environment and resources

Disposal management determines how resources are saved in the Group. The number one principle is that waste should not simply be thrown away. As much used material as possible should be returned to production cycles. The Group uses its own IT tool to document, manage and optimize waste and recycling flows at DB in Germany. Management software customized for DB helps ensure disposal is legally compliant as well as economical and helps DB optimise processes.