WASHINGTON, DC — Sprint Nextel upped its green credentials before Congress Tuesday with testimony that it had developed a green design scorecard for new products and would vastly expand its wireless phone recycling program.
Sprint CEO Dan Hess told the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet about the company’s efforts to reduce the environmental footprint of its operations, products and customers. The hearing focused on how technology and communications innovation could be used to improve energy efficiency.
Hess described how Sprint worked with handset manufacturers Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola, Palm, RIM and Sanyo to develop a scorecard that reflects its vision for environmentally friendly products.
“The criteria in the scorecard better enable Sprint and our vendors to gauge the degree to which each handset manufactured complies with our environmental standards,” Hess said, according to his prepared remarks.
The scorecard categories cover environmentally sensitive materials, such as Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), brominated fire retardants (BFR), phthalates and beryllium, with an eye toward their removal; end-of-life management, to boost recyclability and use of recycled parts; sustainable packaging, in order to reduce waste and boost use of environmentally preferred materials; energy efficiency, to encourage handsets and chargers that use less energy; and innovation.
Sprint will also begin offering customers a cash incentive for recycling wireless phones regardless of the maker or carrier. The overarching goal is to achieve a 90 percent reuse and recycling rate, relative to device sales, compared to its current recycling rate of more than 40 percent.
A recent survey from ABU Research found that 98 percent of respondents declared they would return their phones to a store, charity or manufacturer, Hess said, if they were compensated with either cash, store credit or tax deduction.
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