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“NIVEA explains: How do I properly separate my waste?”

26 years of experience in sustainable waste disposal and the latest knowledge about dm’s customers and products in a joint mission. Arend Klöver – our Environmental Manager for Water and Waste – and dm Key Account Manager Maximilian Schulz went together to the dm drugstores in Blankenese and Eppendorf with the aim of bringing consumers closer to proper waste separation.

The intention of the teamwork: clearing up rumours and half-truths in waste disposal as well as informing customers about the correct sorting of their waste. This action is part of our commitment within the “Rezyklat-Forum”.

What is the “Rezyklat-Forum”?

The “Rezyklat-Forum” consists of 32 members. These include retailers and wholesalers, manufacturers, disposal companies and packaging manufacturers. They cover the entire value chain along the environmental service branch. Under the motto “Recycling together, creating value together”, the “Rezyklat-Forum” is working together to raise consumer awareness of the environmental service branch in order to separate recyclables by type. On October 8th 2019, the Forum took place for the first time at Beiersdorf in Hamburg. Read more here (available in German).

Arend Klöver has been with Beiersdorf for over 26 years and supports our locations worldwide in optimising waste and wastewater management, among other things. Arend knows the latest trends and technologies. His main interest is to increase public knowledge about the disposal and recycling of daily household waste.

Maximilian Schulz has already worked intensively on sustainability and natural cosmetics at Beiersdorf’s Corporate Development department and, as Key Account Manager for dm, is responsible, among other things, for Beiersdorf’s role in the Recycling Forum.

According to Arend, “it is [...] an essential step to recycle existing recyclables such as product packaging in order to avoid waste”. This will only be possible if the separation of waste by the consumer works properly. It was also – in cooperation with dm – a driving force behind this project to approach the customer where he decides to buy a product (and its packaging): at the point of sale.

The task was simple in theory: different wastes should be assigned to the right categories. The daily possibilities were yellow sack/recyclables, paper waste, glass, bio- and residual waste.

The supposedly simple task proved to be more challenging than expected for the more than 100 participating dm customers and was marked by many “aha” moments. For example, a broken drinking glass or light bulb should not be disposed of in a glass container, but in residual waste, since the melting point is different from that of packaging glass. The typical disposable coffee cups also belong in the residual waste because the cardboard cannot be separated from the plastic parts in the cup.

Living more sustainably is no longer a niche issue

The relevance of the topic was demonstrated by the rush of customers. Some of them spent more than 20 minutes at Arend and Maximilian’s stand and were informed in detail. “One customer even asked for my email address to get more information, as she was surprised by many of the findings,” reports Arend. The action clearly showed the complexity of the topic. Many customers were overwhelmed with the task of properly separating waste. After all, it was years ago that the green dot and the yellow sack were introduced in Germany. The knowledge about what the Green Dot means and what exactly is allowed in the Yellow Sack has partly faded with time.

The need for a better separation of packaging waste is also reflected in the federal government. This year, for example, the Packaging Act came into force with the aim of achieving a significant quota increase for material recycling. Arend also sees this in the same way: “not only the companies, but also the consumers are responsible here”. The waste disposal initiative at dm has shown that this can happen hand in hand and that there is a fundamental interest on both sides.

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Katrin Selzer

About the editor: Katrin Selzer

Katrin has been working at Beiersdorf since 2003. After various positions in marketing, strategy, digital and PR, she is since September 2018 Senior Communication Manager and responsible for the topic of sustainability. For Katrin, sustainability has a high personal relevance, since it changes the world for the better – and she contributes by communicating about it. Her communication is very passionate and she tries to also push the topic forward. In her private life, she is constantly seeking new ways and means to live a more sustainable lifestyle and inspire others with it.