AT&T slims down accessory packaging

Less is definitely more -- especially when it comes to paper and plastic that are typically thrown away. Extending its commitment to environmental sustainability, AT&T today announced a transition to smaller and more eco-friendly packaging for the wireless device accessories it sells. In addition, AT&T unveiled requirements for manufacturers of mobile phones to reduce the environmental impact of future handsets.

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. According to, recycling one ton of plastic saves 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space, and recycling one ton of paper saves more than 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space. So the environmental equivalents of the packaging changes equate to avoiding more than 1,100 cubic yards of landfill space - enough to house nearly 10 school buses - by the end of 2010.

AT&T is working with suppliers of mobile phone accessories to use less plastic and paper in our 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.

"These improvements are sound business decisions, but more importantly, they significantly reduce the impact of this packaging on the environment," said Jeff Bradley, senior vice president, Devices, AT&T. "This is a small but meaningful next step that AT&T decided to take, and we are pleased to deliver new packaging alternatives that are recycled, can be recycled, and generate less waste."

New Manufacturing Requirements for Wireless Phones
In 2009, AT&T introduced significant environmental requirements and goals associated with the manufacturing of new wireless devices to be sold by AT&T. The requirements were developed in cooperation with mobile phone manufacturers. The requirements begin to take effect for new wireless phones this year with all goals and requirements being met by the end of 2011. These include:

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

  --  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).

"We have been working closely with our device manufacturers to establish environmentally friendly manufacturing standards that can be implemented now," Bradley said. "This is the beginning of an ongoing collaboration with our suppliers, and we'll explore together more ways to soften our impact on the environment."

AT&T also supports the environment through recycling, alternative fuels, and a focus on energy. All 2,000-plus AT&T company-owned retail stores accept wireless phones for recycling. By the end of 2011, AT&T anticipates collecting roughly 14 million wireless devices for recycling. This translates to keeping more than 920 tons of primary materials and more than 13 tons of toxic waste out of landfills. AT&T plans to invest up to $565 million to deploy more than 15,000 alternative-fuel vehicles thru 2018. AT&T also works to enhance energy performance, reduce energy consumption, and is tapping into alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power.



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