"Rubbish" is a key environmental issue. For one, it means that limited resources are wasted. For another, some types of waste (such as plastic bags or synthetic microparticles that end up in the oceans) pose a serious threat to wildlife. Read more about it here.
Last but not least, hazardous substances can be released into the environment if waste is not disposed of properly.
Despite the fact that waste management is already very well regulated in Germany, it is still an important environmental issue at our headquarters in Tettnang-Obereisenbach. All waste is collected by local waste management companies and properly disposed of, or it is brought to a collection station by VAUDE employees with documented proof.
A proportion of fabric waste (polyethylene and polyamide) from products at the Obereisenbach site is collected separately and passed on to a recycling company.
It’s true that our residual waste volumes have been declining since 2016 following the completion of the sweeping reconstruction measures in 2014 and 2015 (more on the renovation here).
Nevertheless, we still have far too much residual waste that is not recycled but “thermally recycled”, which means it’s used as fuel for energy production or in the cement industry. Why?
For one thing, the amounts are quite low on an industrial scale. In addition, coated synthetics are not a single material and therefore present a real challenge for recycling firms.
At VAUDE, residual waste is mainly generated in our Manufaktur production facility and includes materials such as textile residues from die-cutting or semi-finished products that have not passed our strict quality control. In addition, products from our Product Service Department that can no longer be repaired and cannot be used as a secondhand products end up in our residual waste, as well as waste from marketing events for which sorting would be too time-consuming.
Thermal recycling is better than not using residual waste at all, but of course, it would be much better from an ecological standpoint if we reduced our residual waste as much as possible. That is why we are trying to scale down material remnants in the manufactory by optimizing cutting processes. And we are looking for industrial partners who can use coated plastics for recycling despite the relatively small quantity.
Under the motto "From residual material to raw material" we have founded a small, exclusive Upcycling Workshop in which we produce beautiful and useful products with creative ideas and craftsmanship – each one truly unique! A positive side effect is that the project has also created jobs for refugees. Read more about it here.
Waste is also generated in the upstream supply chain and in downstream processes, such as waste materials from sewing or packaging, but also chemical waste. Only in a very few cases do we have concrete data on quantities, types of waste and disposal.
And what problems we still have when it comes to packaging here.