GTF Berlin 18 - Kai [EN]

So I’m Jos and I’m working on research in circular economy and automotive sector. And I would like to know your point of view. If you accept, I’m going to record our conversation, transcribe it and put the transcription with a pseudonym, not with your real name in a repository of text documents that will be used for the research. If you do this and you change your mind later and no longer want to participate, get in touch with us and we will immediately remove your interview from the repository. I’m leaving you an information sheet with the contact information. So if you agree, then tell me please your first name and that you agree.

Kai. I agree.

Thank you very much, Kai. So the first question, can you define a circular economy in your own words?

My own words, circular economy? Well, a circular economy, actually. Is that everything What you are using and producing is coming out of already used materials. So if you go, for example, in the car industry, you your main goal should be to, in the end to use the car as long as possible. And if it is not anymore possible, then you have to recycle it in a way that you can really use the materials out of the car at. Of course, preferable 100%, but usually it’s 90 above. So what would be the aim?

Very good description. Do you participate in circular economy yourself in any aspect of your life?

Yes. In my previous position I was participating in this because at this company, which is a big player in Europe, there’s, I think, the first sustainable approach to what really is circular economy in the car industry.

And in your private life.

Well, in my private life, I’m trying it as well, not throwing away the iPhone. It’s already more than five years old. So trying then if the battery is going down to to get a new battery but not throwing the iPhone away.

Good. How did you become interested in circular economy ideas and practices?

Well, that’s already a long time because, I mean, if you look at the attempts, especially in Germany, there was a lot of attempts to do it really in a way which is sustainable, but a lot of them failed. If then see the waste popping up somewhere else in the world because it was cheaper to sell it to developing countries, that is not the right approach. Right? So there you need really to to to define also the legal base in the right way that this will not happen.

In your opinion, can a circular economy be implemented in individual sectors or industries?

Yeah, for sure. I’m convinced about this because, I mean, it is not so easy, but the the sectors should agree on common rules because if only one player is starting it and the others are still doing the usual business, then then it will be difficult. But if everyone is really in the sector agreeing on circular economy and also starting, for example, to build car in a way that they can be recycled in the end of the day, then it’s the first step. To go ahead. Yeah.

Do you think the circular economy already exists in the car industry?

Well, there are some, as I already showed, some attempts to to try to go this way, this path. But for example, I think a very good starting point is the e-mobility part. So if you are now starting to build cars sustainable and if you are saying, okay, that’s the new future, you should go a sustainable way. And not all of the manufacturers, especially one from from the US, is not always doing this. So if you look especially at the battery part, then you need already to build batteries which you can in the end reuse in the second life and then recycle in the end of the day. And this is a challenge which is not so far solved by the industry. Just some players are doing this way. For example, one in Europe, Renault is doing this in a quite sustainable way, but others should follow and there should be common standards in the industry to enforce to accelerate this development.

Do you currently own a car?


Which kind?


Is it new one or old one?

No, it’s already well it’s half new. It’s a year old now. But yeah, it was new when I, when I leased it. It’s a leasing product. Yeah.