Sofa in DB Lounge with seat cover made of marine plastic fibers. | © DB AG/ Oliver Lang

Turning old into new

Far more raw materials are consumed worldwide than nature can replenish. That is why we at Deutsche Bahn are actively committed to resource protection, conserving raw materials and reusing as much as possible. In our upcycling projects, we give old products and used materials a new lease on life. We make these into new, high-quality products with our creative partners.

Environmental protection is in the bag

Our internal service provider for media and communications technology, DB KT, manufactures new products from leftover construction site and advertising banners. They transform the large, colorful tarpaulins into pencil cases, laptop covers and shopping bags. Each item is unique.

In another project, employees at our maintenance depot in Wittenberge make bags from the offcuts of upholstery materials, giving seat cover fabric from our Regio and ICE trains a new purpose. They sew the distinctive patterned fabrics to create smartphone and tablet covers and bicycle bags, for instance.

At DB Station&Service, too, colleagues had high-quality bags made up from tarpaulin construction site banners. The one-of-a-kind shopping and shoulder bags were produced in a partnership with a regional workshop employing people with disabilities.

  • Bags made from upcycled construction site banners | © DB Station&Service
  • Tablet protective cover made from offcuts of upholstery materials from our Regio trains. | © DB AG/ Tanja Radloff
  • Bag from upcycled advertising banners | © DB Kommunikationstechnik

Upcycling by hand

We also reuse parts of the red tarpaulins from our DB Cargo freight cars in upcycling. At trade fairs and other events, visitors can get creative and make their own key fobs and other freebies.

Plastic waste that is now a seat cover

In our DB Lounges, our customers can spend their waiting time in a sustainable environment. Around a third of the sofa covers in the premium areas of our DB Lounges are made of Oceanic fabric from Camira. Camira upcycles plastic waste from the world's oceans and weaves it into new yarn. Every meter of SeaQual polyester yarn contains the equivalent of about 26 plastic bottles. The Oceanic fabric made from it thus consists of 100% recycled plastic and has OEKO-TEX 100 certification.

Upcycling products sold on

In collaboration with Berlin-based designer Daniel Kroh, we have brought items from our old corporate clothing collection back to life. Outdated shirts and waistcoats have been refashioned to create unique pieces such as a sleeve bag and a peaked cap. These and other accessories, such as glasses cases, eye masks and ballpoint pens, are available to buy in the upcycling collection on All products are custom-made from our previous corporate clothing collection. Even the ballpoint pen is made from recycled yarn from DB shirts hardened with organic resin. The cases are also sewn from unused pants and skirts.

  • Sleep mask from old corporate clothing | © DB Bahnshop
  • Sleeve pocket from old corporate clothing | © DB Bahnhsop
  • Ballpoint pen made from recycled yarn and handmade textile strips from old DB shirts | © DB Bahnshop

Thanks to upcycling, we are able to extend the life of our products and materials, and also avoid producing waste. At the same time, we consume fewer natural resources and reduce our emissions. This is all part of DB's green transformation.