AT&T Moves To Add Better Eco Standards To Product Practices

Packaging isn’t something we tend to pay a whole lot of attention to. After all, it’s what we’ve just purchased that excites us, right? But paying attention to packaging makes a lot of sense for any manufacturer interested in going green in a relatively painless way, and the latest example is telecom giant AT&T.

With a recent announcement that “less is more” when it comes to packaging, AT&T’s new and improved packaging for device chargers, cases, batteries and data cables will help to avoid creating more than 200 tons of wasted plastic and paper in 2010, according to GreenFudge.  They’ll also be putting into effect some interesting new new design specifications developed in 2009 in conjunction with their manufacturers to reduce the environmental impacts of new mobile phones.

AT&T Phone

image via AT&T

The new rules will also require manufacturers to reduce packaging, use non-petroleum based inks and recycled materials for in-box documentation, build phones comply with comply with the new GSMA Universal Charging Solution (for reduction of single device charger e-waste) and are compliant with the European Unions’ Restriction of Hazardous Substances mandate (which restricts the use of heavy metals like lead and mercury). They will also 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). Less impressive is the mandate that 75% of all new ATT&T mobile phones be at least 65% recyclable. (Would it have been to much to go for 100% of phones, and/or a higher percentage of recyclable parts) Still, it’s a great start.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.