Wednesday, March 3, 2010

AT&T Sets Eco-Friendly Standards for Handsets

AT&T will require mobile handset suppliers to follow a new set of eco-friendly standards.

The first step is to reduce plastic and paper in the mobile phone packaging. For example, the packaging for batteries and data cables will change from plastic "clam shell"-style packaging to small, recyclable paper boxes. The packaging for protective phone cases and car chargers will change to slimmer packaging.

This change will eliminate more than 60 percent of the paper and more than 30 percent of the plastic previously used for accessory products. In addition to containing less paper and plastic, the improved accessory packaging will be printed using non-petroleum-based inks. AT&T estimates that the packaging improvements for device chargers, cases, batteries and data cables will help to avoid more than 200 tons of wasted plastic and paper in 2010.

In addition, AT&T reiterated several significant environmental requirements for handsets that were first announced last year. These requirements begin to take effect for new wireless phones this year. These include:

  • Suppliers will be required to reduce packaging, use non-petroleum based inks and use recycled materials for in-box documentation of new devices.

  • Seventy-five percent of new devices will be at least 65 percent recyclable. By weight, most of the new phones AT&T sells will be made of materials that can be recycled when the phones are retired.

  • A majority of new devices will comply with the GSMA Universal Charging Solution. This will allow consumers to use a single, more energy-efficient charger with most new devices.

  • All new devices will be compliant with the European Unions' Restriction of Hazardous Substances mandate. This directive restricts the use of lead, mercury, and other hazardous materials used in electronic equipment.

  • Suppliers will be required to assert that all devices delivered to AT&T have avoided virgin materials mined in conflict zones within the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

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