Recycling – full circle

As children, we were taught how to share. And as adults? It is worthwhile for us to rediscover sharing as an ideology from which we can benefit.


Questions for...

Birgit Klesper

Question 1 out of 7

  • We currently need 1.5 planet Earths to meet our resource requirements. How long can we keep this up?

    People tend to live above their means. Our planet cannot naturally regenerate any of the natural resources that will be consumed as of August. There's no question that things are going to take a turn for the worse. We're all familiar with the problems: overfishing the oceans, deforestation, growing mountains of garbage, increasing amounts of CO₂ in the atmosphere and the natural disasters these cause. Our current economic approach is not only detrimental to future generations but also to people in poorer countries. We need to come up with a solution fast; if we want to maintain our lifestyle, we need to move away from a disposable society to a recycling economy.

  • What is the recycling economy and how can it help?

    In a recycling economy, the resources used are returned to the production process after the product's life cycle has ended. Of course, it's all theoretical, but what does it actually mean? The recycling economy is multi-faceted. Reusing, recycling, repairing and using products longer than usual all play an important role.

  • Can you think of any examples?

    Millions of used cell-phones lie abandoned in household drawers, no longer being used - a considerable treasure trove of raw materials. Up to 80 percent of the materials contained in cell phones, like gold and silver, can be recycled. People can turn in their old cell phones at any Telekom shop in Germany and we'll make sure they are properly recycled. Proper disposal is also important because cell phones contain hazardous materials that can be harmful to the environment if they end up at the dump. That means that recycling valuable raw materials is a key principle behind the recycling economy.

  • What role does digitization play in this context?

    Digitization is an excellent way to conserve resources. Take vacation photos, for example. If you store them in the Magenta Cloud, for example, you don't need your own hard drive. And where there's no hard drive, no raw materials are being used, electricity consumption is reduced and no waste is produced. The key word here is dematerialization.

  • But data needs to be stored somewhere, even in the cloud.

    That's right, but we can do it much more effectively than our customers. Thanks to effective capacity utilization, our highly secure, energy-efficient data centers require less hardware, which means less energy consumption. Compared to a customer running their own infrastructure, this solution reduces energy consumption by up to 80 percent. An excellent example of conserving resources in the recycling economy.

  • What can we do to help?

    We only use four out of five things we own once a month on average or even less frequently, at least those of us in industrialized countries. How often do you use your drill? Not only are drills expensive, they also consume valuable resources and we rarely even use them. It's so much more efficient to share this machine with other people. Sharing platforms, for example, make this possible by making sure that we don't have one or more of these resources just lying around at home, but share them instead and, in doing so, conserve resources.

  • What role does Deutsche Telekom have in this?

    Our networks are what makes these platforms possible in the first place. Our products and services enable climate-friendly, sustainable consumption among our customers. We also want to do our part as a company and reduce our carbon footprint. Deutsche Telekom is very active when it comes to using energy more efficiently and reducing electricity consumption. We invest in efficient network technology, replace outdated technology with new technology that is more energy efficient, improve the energy management at our buildings and reduce our company car fleet to make way for more climate-friendly options. And these are just a few examples. The fact is that only together do we have a chance to overcome these challenges in collaboration with the society, with business and with politics. We all have to make a contribution. With this app, we hope to give you an example of the recycling economy that is easy to read as well as a few tips on how to live and act more sustainably.

B uy – use – dispose. Our current consumption behavior is a slow but sure death. We can already feel the first effects of our throw-away society: Resources are getting scarce and piles of trash are growing. The principle of recycling promises a solution. Used resources are returned to the production process; completely in an ideal scenario. In order to embed this responsible resource management within society, politicians and economic players must work hand in hand. Another key factor is that each individual needs to change their way of thinking. The most promising approaches are: Reusing rather than throwing out. Repairing rather than repurchasing. And over and over again: Sharing. Sharing. Sharing. Surprisingly, this is exactly what gives a fresh perspective to sensibility and quality of life. The article “Rediscovering sharing” shows how.

The shift from the throw-away society to recycling is not one of many options. It is our only chance.

At Deutsche Telekom, recycling is not a noble objective but a lived reality. Birgit Klesper, head of Corporate Responsibility, explains in an interview what exactly Deutsche Telekom does when it comes to conserving resources, recycling and dematerialization. Have fun listening!