Corporate Responsibility

Roman Ahrens


Greener logistics: A router in a tailor-made suit

Sleeves, multifunctional enclosures and co. For products for technology and field service that leave the logistics center in Steinfurt, Telekom relies on customized packaging. Latest technology calculates the optimum packaging size for a product in a flash and saves tons of paper.

As much as necessary, as little as possible - that's the motto: For some time now, Telekom has been taking a new approach to packaging for the equipment of TECHNIK and Deutsche Telekom Außendienst together with its shipping partners DHL Solution and Packsize at the logistics center in Steinfurt: Instead of fixed standard carton sizes, the cartons are custom-made from continuous board in around ten seconds.

"Using so-called material geodata, i.e. length, width and height, the optimum size of the carton is always calculated. From routers to sleeves for network expansion," emphasizes project manager Björn Flohr. "We work here with two machines, each equipped with four webs of different carton widths and qualities. In this way, we ensure minimal waste and also pay attention to maximum efficiency in the use of materials." As a result, around 30,000 cartons already leave the logistics center in Steinfurt every month in line with demand.

For products for technology and field service Deutsche Telekom relies on customized packaging.

For products for technology and field service Deutsche Telekom relies on customized packaging.

Shredding for the environment

But no matter how suitable a carton may be, the spaces in them must also be filled so that the contents are protected. "Previously, we purchased extra so-called crumple paper for this purpose. That was not optimal from either an economic or an ecological point of view," says Carlos Lubina from the Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development department.

However, finding a solution that was both practical and sustainable was not easy. The team found inspiration for a better solution at Anga Com, a trade show for broadband, television and online: Instead of using new crumpled paper, familiar from most shipping cartons, they recycle the offcuts from cardboard production.
A special machine shreds them, making them a perfect substitute for conventional crumpled paper.

The new process not only saves space in the paper garbage cans, but above all lots of valuable paper resources: around 50-70 tons per year. Each unused ton of paper also saves up to 50,000 liters of water 10,000 kWh of energy and one ton of CO2 (source: Initiative Pro Recyclingpapier).

"The process is a real milestone for us in terms of sustainability," Dr. Carlos Lubina therefore sums up with regard to the Telekom approach.

The packaging problem

It is not only since Corona and the renewed boom for mail order that the volume of parcels in Germany continues to grow. This brings with it a nagging problem that everyone is familiar with: oversized shipping cartons along with reams of packing paper. Every German throws away more than 100 kilos of packaging waste every year - and the trend is rising.

As Europe's leading telecommunications provider, Telekom also wants to be a pioneer when it comes to environmental protection.

That is why sustainability has also been enshrined in the corporate strategy since last year. The Group-wide sustainability program We care for our planet ensures the implementation of concrete measures to achieve the company's own climate targets.

In view of the ever-increasing volumes, the topic of sustainable packaging and logistics is more important than ever and one of eleven initiatives anchored within the program.

Truck on a road.e


Anton Schäfer


Logistics experts get sustainability on the road

Climate change concerns us all. Anton Schäfer explains how the logistics sector combines efficiency and sustainability - with digitalization.