Home » Projects » Circular economy

Circular Economy
and Zero Waste to Landfill

Telecommunications technology has always been characterized by constant change and innovation. New technical components are constantly being added, which connect even more people, optimize our existing technologies, and increase our performance. These are pleasing developments, but they also have an impact on the environment.
That is why the A1 Group attaches great importance to basic ecological principles. This is reflected in our high ambitions for greenhouse gas reduction in general and in the transformation toward a circular economy in particular. By avoiding waste and conserving resources, we want to keep valuable raw materials in the material cycle for as long as possible. To make the transformation from a linear economy to a circular economy measurable, we use the 9Rs (Refuse, Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Refurbish, Remanufacture, Repurpose, Recycle). A framework according to which we align our initiatives and increase our level of circularity. But it is not enough to commit to these principles on our own. It is fundamentally important to cooperate with partners because resource consumption occurs along the entire value chain.
According to the principle of “the best kWh is the one that is not used in the first place,” it is also our goal to implement measures within the circular economy throughout the A1 Group in such a way that resources are actively reduced and, if possible, not used at all. For example, artificial intelligence adapts network operation and thus the electricity demand to the actual use and places unused network layers in standby mode in order to save energy. Further steps toward energy-efficient operation are the cloudification of IT and smart energy management systems, which are being introduced step by step.
If it is not possible to reduce certain resources, the A1 Group takes care to keep products in the material cycle for as long as possible or to enable a further life cycle. If old devices or equipment can indeed not be used any further, those devices are dismantled at their locations, systematically separated into fractions such as printed circuit boards, copper, iron, or sheet metal, etc., and professionally recycled. The zero-waste-to-landfill goal is being pursued in order to also check previously less relevant waste streams for recyclability and, if necessary, to adapt the waste recycling steps. This should subsequently lead to no more non-recyclable waste being generated and all recyclable materials being returned to a utilization cycle.

Refurbishment Center in Bulgaria

The A1 Group’s largest refurbishment and recycling center was opened in Bulgaria in 2016. The refurbished equipment comes not only from Bulgaria and Austria but also from A1 Group customers and can be reused after refurbishment.