As promised in February, AT&T has begun label some mobile devices that it sells with its service with its home-grown eco-rating system -- designating whether a particular piece of technology meets certain green criteria.
Rival wireless carrier Sprint has been doing the same for years, now, although its own rating is now managed by an independent organization, UL Environment.
AT&T's new system looks at 15 different factors that cover five main areas: use of environmentally preferrable materials, minimization of hazardous substances, energy efficiency, responsible end-of-life management, and environmentally responsible manufacturing practices. The system uses the familiar "star" visual rating system, from the minimalistic "1" to the best you can get "5."
The label will be on all new AT&T branded postpaid mobile devices, along with 13 gadgets from the carrier's existing portfolio including the HTC Inspired 4 G (3 stars), Motorola Atrix HD (4 stars) or a Samsung Galaxy Note (4 stars). The Samsung Galaxy Exhilarate managed a 5-star rating. You can scan a QR code on the label to get more information about the specific product and its rating.
I'm encouraged to see another carrier paying attention to this issue, although I would prefer to see some sort of standard that reaches across carriers rather than those that are carrier-specific.
The biggest area of focus for these companies should be on collecting all the devices that are discarded when they are "old" (in some cases that's just a year). Mobile gadgets are one of the fastest growing portions of the fast-growing electronic waste stream (aka e-waste).