Sprint Packaging is Low on Plastic, Promotes Recycling

OVERLAND PARK, KS — Sprint's new Samsung Seek phone comes in packaging that's close to plastic-free and can also be used to mail in old phones to be reused or recycled.

For the Seek's packaging, Sprint switched from plastic trays and plastic bags for batteries and literature to paper items. The box and inner tray are made from 90 percent post-consumer recycled paper, are chlorine-free and printed with soy inks. The paper band around the manual and other literature contains 30 percent post-consumer content.

The packaging, made by Motivating Graphics, includes a postage paid label on the inside, so if a customer has an old cell phone and accessories, they can put them in the box along with any manuals, slap the label on the outside of the box and send it in.

The new mail-back packaging will be used with the blue and pink versions of the Seek. The red Seek will come with a plastic bag (made of LDPE, #4 plastic) that can be used to mail in old phones. Since summer 2008, Sprint has included mail-back bags in almost all of its new phones.

Sprint will compare the performance of the new mail-back box to that of the plastic envelope to determine future plans for its mail-back packaging. The company will look at the proportional collection rate, based on number of phones sold, for each type of mail-back packaging, and also examine how well the mail-back options worked, both for customers and within Sprint's sales, distribution and collection systems.

Mailed-in phones will go through Sprint's Project Connect program. Phones that work and have market value are sold to be reused, and phones that don't work or are obsolete are sold to recycling services. All net proceeds go to Sprint's 4NetSafety program, which spreads information to help kids and teens be safe online. In 2008, the program brought in $1.7 million in net proceeds.

Seek packaging - Sprint