OVERLAND PARK, KS — Cell phone companies have been calling their products greener in recent years by adding recycled content or offering recycling programs, but if they want to call them truly sustainable they'll have to meet the requirements of a new UL Environment standard.
The standard for "environmentally preferred mobile devices," will be able to score products on three tiers based on their energy efficiency, materials, packaging, manufacturing processes, disposal and other life cycle impacts.
In late March, UL Environment will release a draft of the requirements, which were created by a small group including only one wireless carrier, Sprint Nextel.
The requirements will next be vetted by a Standards Technical Panel that includes other wireless carriers, manufacturers, retailers and non-governmental organizations.
UL Environment is an outgrowth of Underwriters Laboratory, the 117-year-old safety certification firm. UL Environment's focus is on energy efficiency, environmental claims and product sustainability, and it is currently working out the details of the first sustainability standard for manufacturing organizations, ULE 880, which is being developed in collaboration with GreenBiz Group.
UL Environment will discuss the mobile device standard during "The Green Marketplace" session tomorrow at the CES convention in Las Vegas.
Cell phones - CC license by Flickr user me and the sysop