Sprint Goes Green(er)

NEW YORK -- Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) is trying to cement its credentials as the "greenest" mobile operator in the U.S. with the launch of a new Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) phone -- called the "Reclaim" -- which is made from 80 percent recycled materials.

"We're challenging ourselves and our industry to do more," said Sprint CEO Dan Hesse at a press conference here Thursday, as he introduced the new handset and laid out some new goals for Sprint.

The new Samsung device, however, was the focus of the event. The Reclaim's casing uses 40 percent corn-based "bio plastic." Sprint says the device's charger uses 12 times less power than that laid out in Energy Star recommendations and has a light to remind users to unplug when the device is fully charged.

The device also doesn't use polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, a material that doesn't break down well and is known to contaminate rivers and other areas. Regular readers may recall that Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) got into trouble with California's Center for Environmental Health and with Greenpeace back in 2007 because of PVC in the original iPhone. (See iPhone Toxicity Allegations.)

For those who want to keep track, Sprint has so far said that it will:

  • Reduce paper use across the company by 30 percent by 2012.
  • Work with suppliers to use sustainable components and greener manufacturing processes.
  • Require new and refurbished stores to implement numerous sustainable design elements consistent with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. Those stores will also use energy-efficient lighting, low water usage plumbing fixtures, and low volatile organic compound (VOC) paint and carpet. Sprint expects the rollout of these energy efficiency upgrades to reduce the carbon footprint of each store by about 19,000 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalents.
  • Reach 90 percent recycling of Sprint handsets by 2017.

"Sprint is the only U.S.-based carrier to have publicly set such measurable goals," Hesse said, adding that they make "good business sense," as consumers are increasingly looking to buy from environmentally conscious companies.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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