Sprint Network Vision E-Waste Elimination | Sprint
“Demonstrates Sprint’s Stewardship commitment not only by executing a substantial environmental project but also the translation into cost savings. This shows how their commitment translates back to the economic sustainability of their business. The project also has the valuable impact to affect broader change in the industry through the suppliers engaged in the process.”
--Environmental Leader Product & Product Awards judge
Responsible e-waste reuse and recycling is a major component of Network Vision, Sprint’s plan to consolidate multiple technologies into one new network with the goal of increasing efficiency and enhancing coverage, call quality and data speeds. By phasing out and dismantling the iDEN Nextel National Network and replacing equipment on the Sprint Nationwide CDMA network with improved technology, Network Vision is generating a significant amount of materials that need to be disposed of responsibly.
In accordance with the zero-landfill goal in its industry-leading Electronics Stewardship Policy, Sprint is recycling all the equipment shed during Network Vision, which the company says is believed to be the largest e-waste project in the world today. By 2014, the initiative will avert 175 million pounds of waste from landfills, including 15 million pounds of lead-acid batteries. Sprint’s priority is reuse, which provides significant benefits: cost savings for Sprint and its suppliers was $217 million in 2012 alone.
Recycling or reusing every part of a nationwide wireless network is a huge undertaking. Because of the project’s complexity and number of direct and indirect suppliers involved, Sprint created detailed governance and monitoring processes, and engaged a third-party verifier to ensure its strict policies are being followed. Sprint is currently creating its own evaluation program, which will allow Sprint to conduct its own ongoing assessments of all third-party suppliers in the future.
The recycling/reuse component ensures that Sprint meets the aggressive goals in its Electronic Stewardship Policy. In addition, the Network Vision project itself is leading to a significant reduction in energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions, the company says. Purchased energy accounts for 98% of Sprint’s greenhouse gas emissions, and 88% of that purchased energy is used to power Sprint’s network. Sprint’s newest generation of network equipment combines multiple spectrum bands that previously necessitated separate equipment into a single unit—using significantly less material and energy while providing enhanced coverage for Sprint customers. Network Vision is a big driver in Sprint’s ability to commit publicly to a 20% absolute greenhouse gas reduction and absolute electrical energy reduction target by 2017.