Material Consumption and Logistics

  • GRI 301

As an access and applications provider, our business with physical products makes particular use of electronic devices and hardware. Applications are developed in our “Internet Factory” or together with partner organizations, and are operated on more than 90,000 servers in our 10 data centers. In contrast, the Consumer Access Segment primarily provides our customers with information and communications technology hardware in the form of devices such as smartphones and routers, tablets, web surfing hardware, and accessories, along with tariffs for using our mobile network and broadband services. In addition, our employees use IT hardware to perform their tasks.

Customer Hardware

  • GRI 417-1

Device Disposal

Smartphones, routers, and other devices that we provide our customers may contain components that cannot be disposed of as household waste. Our job is to take responsibility for these products’ entire life cycle, and to recycle materials properly after use so that no pollutants are released into the environment. We have signed a waste disposal contract with our partner, specialist waste disposal service provider Interseroh, to ensure that the devices that we supply can be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner. We inform customers about how to dispose of their mobile and landline hardware professionally every time we make a delivery, and list Interseroh’s collection points (German only) on our website. This ensures that all customers have the opportunity to return their old equipment for recycling or disposal.

Both European directives and Germany’s Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (“Elektronikgerätegesetz” – ElektroG) ban the disposal of old equipment and all electronic parts included in deliveries as household waste and require them to be disposed of properly to permit recycling. The goals are to protect the environment and health, and to conserve resources.

According to industry association Bitkom, there were roughly 199 million old cellphones and smartphones in circulation in Germany in 2020 that were no longer in use but still worked or could be recycled. The average period of use is not much more than a year. Valuable raw materials such as precious metals and rare earths can be recovered from these devices – if they are recycled.

Reusing Smartphones

1&1 and three Drillisch online brands launched campaigns in 2019 to remarket smartphones that still work. 1&1’s trade-in campaign offered customers who signed a new contract including a new iPhone up to €700 if they sent in their functioning old one. In addition, Drillisch online brands yourfone, maXXim and Galaxy EXPERTE added refurbished cellphones to their offerings in 2019. These devices, which come from returns within 30 days, are marketed at a significant discount to the price of new ones. They are in perfect working order, have been quality assured, and come complete with accessories, original packaging, and a 24-month guarantee.

Hardware in Data Centers and Office Buildings

  • GRI 102-12
  • GRI 301-1
  • GRI 305-3

For over 11 years now, we have ensured internally used servers and network equipment are recycled in an environmentally appropriate way by passing them on to recycling specialist AfB gGmbH. This organization recycles them professionally or reclaims them for reuse, prolonging the life of the hardware and conserving resources. AfB is a disability inclusion company; according to its own figures, roughly 45% of its current employees are people with disabilities. This means that not only do we ensure our hardware is handled by environmental and recycling experts, but we also improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

AfB reclaimed or recycled the following volumes of old IT equipment for us over the past three years:

Old IT equipment

Number of devices

Reclaimed and reused in %

Raw materials recovered through recycling in %












































Mobile devices






























(1) The “tablets” category was reported separately by AfB in the 2020 reporting period. No figures can be provided for past periods since these devices were included in the “flat-screens” category in previous years.

We delivered 172.39 tonnes of hardware to AfB in 2020 (2019: 183.39 tonnes; 2018: 179.29 tonnes), helping to save 973.33(1) tonnes (2019: 146.75 tonnes; 2018: 143.39 tonnes) of CO2 equivalents. All in all, our 11-year partnership has already saved 6,646.73 tonnes of CO2 equivalents from 1,726.53 tonnes of IT equipment and mobile devices.

(1) Following the update to the life cycle assessment, the environmental impacts reported are not only up to date but also cover additional types of IT equipment and mobile devices. As a result, these figures cannot be compared with those for the previous year.

Logistics and (Secondary) Packaging

Part of our business involves providing our customers with products such as smartphones and routers so they can use our services. This task is performed for all 1&1 Drillisch Group brands by our own logistics center in Montabaur. (Secondary) packaging and information materials are needed to protect and dispatch these products. In addition, we send access data, e.g., by post for security reasons. The (secondary) packaging materials that we use largely comprise paper, paperboard, and cardboard (PPC) with a high recycled content of 75–80%. We aim to continuously optimize our use of materials, e.g., by reducing transportation packaging.

Materials Used for Shipments

  • GRI 301-1
  • GRI 305-3

The number of shipments made by our logistics center decreased by approximately 12% or so year-on-year (2020: 6.03 million; 2019: 6.89 million; 2018: 5.40 million). At the same time, the use of packaging materials (both plastic and PPC) declined compared to 2019. The main reason for this was a change in the law in 2019.

We report the amount of (secondary) packaging used in shipping and selling products annually, both to our waste disposal partner and in parallel to the packaging register, LUCID (an online platform run by the Foundation for the Central Agency Packaging Register (ZSVR)). The process was modified compared to the previous year as a result of the introduction of the new German Packaging Act (“Verpackungsgesetz” – VerpackG). Organizations introducing packaging covered by the system onto the market for the first time on a commercial basis in Germany (“initial introducers”) must register with LUCID and report the amounts of packaging involved. As a result of the change in the law, 1&1’s logistics operations are now considered to be the initial introducers for fewer packaging materials than was previously the case. Instead, the manufacturers themselves have to pay the packaging fees, and to report the amounts involved, in a larger number of cases.

As a result, 1&1’s logistics operations did not produce any significant amounts of plastic in 2020, whereas the comparable figure for 2019 was 0.5 tonnes. PPC consumption also fell to 432.69 tonnes in 2020, down from 485.10 tonnes in 2019. The number of shipments also fell slightly during the reporting period. The volume of material required depends, e.g., on the relative number of devices or SIM cards shipped, and can therefore fluctuate over the years.

Packaging materials(1)




Total paper, paperboard, and cardboard (PPC) consumption in tonnes




Total plastic consumption in tonnes




Number of shipments in millions




Amount of PPC per shipment in grams




Amount of plastics per shipment in grams




CO2 equivalents in tonnes(2) (Scope 3)




(1) The figures for 2018 relate to 1&1 Telecommunication SE and its subsidiaries; the shipment figures also include Drillisch Online. As from 2019 they include the entire 1&1 Drillisch Group.

(2) Calculated on the basis of the conversion factors published by DEFRA for 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Recycling by our service providers of (secondary) packaging materials led to the equivalent of 223.26 tonnes of CO2 emissions being saved in 2019.(1)

(1) The figures for the reporting period were not available by the editorial deadline for this report.

Our logistics operations also aim to reduce the use of transportation materials when servicing is required (e.g., when a faulty piece of equipment has to be replaced for a customer). Where rental devices have to be exchanged, customers receive the new device from a selected delivery service, which replaces the device directly on site. The new device is delivered in specially developed reusable shipping packaging that can be used to return the old device directly. This not only reduces material costs but also saves customers time.

In addition, we extended our returns management in the past year. All customer cellphones that are returned are checked thoroughly and tested for reusability. This involves deleting all personalized data on the device, checking the functionality, and also checking for wear and tear.

If the devices are in perfect working order, they are cleaned and polished, and any missing accessories (headphones, charging cables, etc.) are supplied, after which they are offered for sale at a clear discount to new devices.

The 1&1 Service Card

Since July 1, 2020, our customers have received a 1&1 Service Card with each order listing all the 1&1 services that they can use free of charge.

Services include the 1&1 trade-in bonus and our 24-hour replacement service, for example.

The 1&1 trade-in bonus allows customers to send in their old smart-phones, tablets, or laptops and receive a bonus in the amount of the fair value of the device concerned. The legacy devices are recycled by 1&1.

Regardless of what has happened to their 1&1 smartphone, tablet, or laptop, our customers can phone and surf again comfortably the next day thanks to the 1&1 replacement service. Where a device has been damaged, we will replace it with an identical one free of charge within 24 hours. We recycle the faulty device and use the components in repairs, for example.

Emissions from Shipping Distances

  • GRI 302-2
  • GRI 305-3

In keeping with our aim of reporting more and more of our greenhouse gas emissions, we started including the shipping distances associated with our logistics operations as from 2019.

Packages destined for our customers are delivered by our logistics services providers (these include DHL, Hermes, and GLS). An internal estimate suggests that, all in all, our packages traveled approximately 886.32 million km in 2020. This represents an increase of 10.94 million km on the 2019 figure of 875.38 million km. Based on the information and estimates provided by our logistics services providers, this generated approximately 1,579.07 tonnes (2019: 1,778.98 tonnes) of greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions were not generated by our organization itself, but are the result of our business activity and therefore count towards our Scope 3 emissions.(1)

(1) The Greenhouse Gas Protocol (2011) requires purchased transportation and distribution services for products sold to be assigned to upstream Scope 3 emissions (category 4).

Shipping distances



Kilometers traveled for package deliveries in millions(1)



CO2 equivalents in tonnes(2) (Scope 3)



(1) Estimate based on the distances between the target locations and the logistics center in Montabaur; the figures do not include upstream journeys to depots, detours, any multiple deliveries, or returns; mean figures were calculated in some cases.

(2) The figures are based on the information and estimates supplied by our logistics services providers.

In addition, we source our packaging and printed materials from local suppliers, avoiding transporting them for long distances and reducing carbon emissions.

Paper Consumption

  • GRI 301-1
  • GRI 305-3

We have been working together with GDW (Genossenschaft der Werkstätten für behinderte Menschen Mitte eG), which destroys and recycles our old physical files, for more than five years. Not only do GDW’s recycling operations help protect the environment, but they also provide jobs for people with physical and mental disabilities.

In addition, we started making increasing use of digital invoicing with our suppliers in 2020. The project had been launched before the 2020 reporting period, but was stepped up last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and our customers are also making increasing use of this feature. In line with this, both we and our suppliers are sending digital invoices in order to save paper and the resulting CO2 equivalents.

The following table shows paper consumption at our locations in Germany, which are supplied centrally with paper. The data captured was expanded substantially in 2019 to include both additional companies and other types of paper. This led to a sharp rise in the figures. In addition, the figures vary from year to year, since in many cases a large amount of paper is ordered and distributed once a year. If, e.g., an order is placed for a large amount at the end of a year, the quantity ordered in the following year will decline. What is more, the paper ordered in a particular year is not used up entirely in that same year. The vast majority of copy paper used in the Group has been certified in accordance with the EU Ecolabel, which is used to denote products and services with a lower environmental impact than comparable options.

Paper consumption(1)




Total paper consumption in tonnes




Paper consumption per employee(2) in kilograms




CO2 equivalents in tonnes(3) (Scope 3)




(1) The figures relate to our companies and locations in Germany, which are supplied centrally with paper. Up to and including 2018 they do not include 1&1 Versatel, Strato, and Drillisch, or letterhead and specialty paper; as of 2019, these are included.

(2) Arithmetic mean; the figures relate to the employees at the companies and locations listed in (1).

(3) Approximate figure calculated on the basis of the conversion factors published by DEFRA for 2018, 2019, and 2020.