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Sprint adopts aggressive green technology stewardship policy

Telecommunication and wireless carrier Sprint Nextel has already been very active when it comes to setting green technology policies for itself. Now, the company has adopted what it calls an Electronics Stewardship Policy that it will use to guide design, components procurement and end-of-life disposal programs.

Telecommunication and wireless carrier Sprint Nextel has already been very active when it comes to setting green technology policies for itself. Now, the company has adopted what it calls an Electronics Stewardship Policy that it will use to guide design, components procurement and end-of-life disposal programs. It says it is the first telecommunications to do so. Whether or not it is first, this policy is extensive and specific.

There are both goals and commitments within that policy, which bears five corporate VP signatures:

  1. To ensure that at least 70 percent of Sprint-branded devices meet its scorecard criteria for environmental design. One major point here is that products should be easily upgradeable, which is something to think about when you consider that the short average life of a mobile phone. Sprint also wants to make them easier to take apart, so it can more easily reuse specific components. It also has a number of materials restrictions.
  2. To require that ALL Sprint recycling and remanufacturing partners are certified for responsible recycling policies by 2012 and 2013, respectively. Sprint will recognize a combination of certifications including the Responsible Recycling (R2)/Recycling Industry Operating Standard (RIOS) requirements or the e-Stewards certification that is advocated by the Basel Action Network.
  3. Maximize equipment useful life. That means offering support to help extend the life of handsets, among other things.
  4. Collect nine mobile phones for reuse or recycling for every 10 phones that Sprint sells by 2017.
  5. Collect 100 percent of Sprint's annual e-waste for recycling and reuse by 2017.
  6. Maximize reuse of electronics.

These are all aggressive goals, but one that sticks with me is Sprint's mobile phone collection declaration. Right now, Sprint collects approximately 3.6 phones for reuse and recycling for every 10 it sells. I actually think that is probably higher than other carriers, but it means that Sprint needs to more than double its collection rate over the next six years.

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