January 09, 2012
Sprint Raises the Bar on Sustainable Design Through New Product and Packaging Standards
UL Environment Certification, Improved Reparability and Greener Packaging Criteria Coming to Sprint in 2012
LAS VEGAS (BUSINESS WIRE), January 09, 2012 - Recently earning the No. 3 spot on Newsweek’s 2011 Green Rankings, Sprint (NYSE: S) has updated its environmental scorecard evaluation criteria for phones and packaging for device manufacturers and vendors. The scorecard is revised each year to ensure continuous improvement of sustainable design considerations across Sprint’s portfolio.
Starting Jan. 1, Sprint’s environmental scorecard now requires all phones go through the UL Environment certification process – an industry first; specifications to improve reparability; and criteria that will drive more sustainable packaging. The changes will ultimately reduce the company’s overall impact on the environment and save the company money.
Last year, Sprint announced its partnership with UL Environment – a subsidiary of one of the world’s most trusted third-party testing and certifying organizations, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) – to produce the first environmental standard for mobile devices across the entire wireless industry: UL-ISR 110. The first mobile phone to achieve UL Environment certification to UL-ISR 110 was Samsung Replenish from Sprint, which received Platinum certification, the highest level.
The standard also provides guidelines for:
- sensitive materials usage
- energy management
- manufacturing and operations
- impact to health and environment
- product performance
- product stewardship
- sustainable innovation
Sprint will now require that all postpaid and prepaid handsets go through the UL Environment certification process.
“We applaud Sprint for helping to lead the wireless phone industry down a path of increased environmental responsibility and sustainability,” said Stephen Wenc, president of UL Environment. “Sprint’s decision to set a goal of having UL Environment certification for all of its mobile phones highlights their commitment to innovation and environmental stewardship.”
Strengthened Packaging Standards
New criteria for packaging within the standard will also drive more sustainable solutions. These new standards are expected to encourage the reduction of packaging volume and size; improve the material composition and structure; and minimize the use of glues, inks, labels and plastics. There will also be an increase in recycled fiber, post-consumer waste, and chlorine-free bleach in paper packaging materials.
Additional packaging standards include:
- the elimination of plastic laminate.
- use of vegetable-based or low VOC (volatile organic compound) inks.
- use of water-based or other environmentally friendly adhesives.
Phone manufacturers will be encouraged to increase their use of modular design for devices, which will ultimately improve both the reparability and recyclability of the device. For example, a phone’s LCD screen is sometimes glued to the plastic cover, making reparability and recycling more difficult. If one of the components breaks or malfunctions, the entire part needs to be replaced instead of just the non-working component.
By using a modular design, only the non-working part is replaced, thereby reducing waste and expense so that Sprint can repair the phone instead of just replacing it. It also allows for better recyclability of all components when materials like plastics, metals and glass can be separated easily into clean fractions.
“By being the first carrier to require all wireless phones to go through the UL Environment certification process, we expect to accelerate adoption of this standard throughout the wireless industry,” said David Owens, vice president-Product Development. “We believe adopting third-party certification, and elevating the sustainable criteria around our packaging and reparability, enables us to continue to push the envelope on sustainable product design and to drive more eco-friendly product options to our customers.”
Sprint’s Sustainability Program
The announcement of these standards aligns with Sprint’s larger sustainability efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, use renewable energy, create less waste, and sell greener mobile devices. Sprint Buyback gives Sprint customers an instant credit of up to $275 to return their old or unused mobile devices so that Sprint can responsibly reuse or recycle them. The program was recently named the best buyback program in the industry by Compass Intelligence.
Sprint’s industry-leading role in corporate responsibility and environmental sustainability continues to receive recognition. For the third year in a row, Sprint ranked highest among all U.S. telecom companies on Newsweek’s 2011 Rankings of America’s Greenest Companies at No. 3, up from No. 6 in 2010. Sprint was also ranked highest among the wireless carrier industry on this year’s Dow Jones Sustainability Index North America.
About UL Environment
UL Environment’s mission is to advance global sustainability, environmental health, and safety by supporting the growth and development of environmentally preferable products, services and organizations. We help companies achieve their sustainability goals and help consumers find products they can trust. UL Environment offers environmental claims validation, multi-attribute product certification, environmental product declarations, indoor air quality certification, product emissions testing, organizational sustainability certification, and consulting. For more information, visit www.ulenvironment.com.
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 53 million customers at the end of 3Q 2011 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The 2011 American Customer Satisfaction Index showed Sprint is the #1 most improved company in customer satisfaction, across all industries, over the last three years. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in its 2011 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.