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The employee magazine
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Production Sites

New Napkins
in the Cafeterias

The Service Factory is committed to using 100% recycled fiber, which will allow it to 
conserve a great deal of water, energy and carbon dioxide.

Many employees will certainly have noticed already that the Volkswagen Service Factory is replacing the standard white napkins made of fresh fiber in the cafeterias with light brown ones make of up to 100% recycled fiber. "This is our contribution to the environment," says Helena Schmidt, Environmental Protection Specialist at Volkswagen Gastronomy, defending the change.

Here’s to the environment: Helena Schmidt, Environmental Protection Specialist, is pleased with the new napkins made of recycled fiber.

The switch to the new napkins is taking place in all of Volkswagen AG’s company restaurants, which includes the Wolfsburg, Braunschweig, Salzgitter, Emden, Kassel and Hanover locations. The rest of the old napkins will likely be used up by the end of September, after which the employees at the Service Factory will only be stocking the dispensers with the new napkins. 

No new trees need to be cleared to make them. And, as Helena Schmidt learned, compared to conventional production, recycled paper only requires around half the energy and just one third of the amount of water to produce. She estimates that some 17 million napkins are currently used every year across all of Volkswagen AG’s locations, which means the switch to the new napkins will result in 100 metric tons less CO2 and 40 metric tons less fresh fiber being used. Not to mention 700 cubic meters – or 700,000 liters – less water, equivalent to a medium-sized 
swimming pool.

For those wondering why the napkins look different: no bleach or additional dyes are used. "That’s what gives them that light brown, natural look," explains the expert from the Volkswagen Service Factory, visibly pleased. The manufacturer also uses recycled cardboard to deliver the napkins. The plastic packaging used to protect the napkins from moisture in the boxes is made of up to 85 percent sugarcane. This kind of bioplastic is more environmentally friendly than many alternatives made of the usual plastic, says Schmidt. To cafeteria patrons she says, "Give them a try. See if you can get by with just one napkin, even if they are relatively thin." That would contribute even more to protecting our environment, plus it would save on cost.