AT&T Gets Greener With New Accessory Packaging, Handset Standards

Being a huge fan of gadgets and electronics in general, it’s hard to admit that in many ways the industry is very unfriendly to the environment. Countless waste from old and used electronics are adding to our landfills each and every day. That’s why it’s nice to hear announcements that companies are doing all they can to help reduce waste and protect the environment.

AT&T made such an announcement yesterday, vowing to change the way its accessories are packaged and adding new green standards for future handsets. It is now requiring most manufacturers to adopt these standards.

Some of the improvements include using less paper and plastic in the packaging, getting rid of around 60% of the paper used and 30% of the plastic. The new packaging will also use inks that are not petroleum-based. The packages will also be slimmer, which could also save the amount (and size) of boxes used in shipping. Improving the packaging requirements for its accessories will actually save roughly 200 tons of wasted plastic and paper by the end of 2010. Considering we are already well into 2010, that can only mean the numbers in the year 2011 will be even better.

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On top of this, new requirements for phone manufacturers will also increase. These requirements will have to be met by the end of 2011. Some of the mandatory environmental changes to new handsets include:

  • Reduced packaging for phones, with non-petroleum based inks and recycled materials for in-box user manuals and other pieces of documentation
  • 75% of new devices must be at least 65% recyclable.
  • Most of the new devices must adhere to the GSMA Universal Charging Solution by 2011. We assume this means most AT&T phones will use the MicroUSB charging port in order to reduce waste from old unused chargers.
  • Each new device will comply with the EU mandate for Restriction of Hazardous Substances. Essentially, this will ensure no lead, mercury or other harmful materials are used.

The press release can be found here.

Author: Brad Molen

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