Resource conservation 0 Environment and 100% green electricity To the Strong Rail strategy
Our key contribution to conserving resources is in strengthening the circular economy. Many materials can be recycled, particularly in resource-intensive infrastructure activities and in the vehicle sector. This means that we keep as many materials and substances as possible in circulation, reducing the need to extract new raw materials and minimizing the adverse environmental impacts that this entails.
Volume of waste according to type of disposal
Total waste (thousand t)
Recycling rate (%)
Share of thermal utilization (%)
Share of disposal (%)
Share of hazardous waste 1) (%)
1) As per the German Ordinance on the European List of Wastes, for example waste oil.
In 2020, we produced about 3.2 million tons less waste. The volume of our most significant waste type, construction waste, was mainly impacted by the Stuttgart — Ulm project (–3.4 million tons) in 2020. As compared to the previous year, the volume of waste generated fell by about 30 %. The recycling rate fell slightly but remains at a very high level. The volume of municipal waste also fell slightly by 7 %. By using targeted measures, such as selective decommissioning and contracting services at sorting and recycling facilities, we kept the share of recyclable waste high and significantly reduced the share of waste destined for disposal or incineration. The new strategy for disposing of mixed municipal waste, which aims to recycle as much of the recyclable material contained therein, is showing signs of success. The strategy helped further increase the volume of recycled municipal waste by 8.8 % (+1,466 tons).
Waste according to type (thousand t)
thereof construction waste
thereof scrap metal
thereof electronic scrap
thereof municipal waste
thereof waste oil
thereof other 1)
1) For example paint, varnish, sludge and other maintenance-related waste.
By identifying and collecting certain types of waste, we can recycle them and generate revenues for specific waste. This means that we comply with the principles of the circular economy. We are in a position to dispose of almost every form of waste separately as a single group.
Although municipal waste represents only a small fraction of our waste, it is the most visible share of our waste on our trains and at our stations. Since the beginning of 2019, we have been reassigning contracts for waste disposal nationwide, with contracts mainly being awarded for sorting services at pretreatment plants. Qualified waste disposal companies sort the mixed waste in state-of-the-art sorting facilities, thereby increasing the amount of reusable materials to be sent for high-grade recycling. We can see how effective our approach is. Thanks to state-of-the-art sorting methods, at least 85 % of recyclable material contained in all the waste delivered to the facilities can now be neatly separated for recycling.