In two separate initiatives, AT&T is making plans to reduce the overall paper associated with its billing system, as well as to help consumers save electricity with charging devices.
A promotion with the Arbor Day Foundation would have AT&T plant a tree for each customer who converts to paperless billing.
If a million customers switch to paperless billing, as the PayItGreen initiative seeks, 400,000 pounds of paper would be saved and up to 6 million pounds of greenhouse gases would be averted. AT&T also says that it could prevent 4 million gallons of wastewater from being discharged into waterways per year.
Citing EPA statistics, AT&T says that planting 1 million trees would absorb more than 1 million tons of carbon dioxide.
With regards to its cellular device business, AT&T has a new wireless charger that has a so-called “automatic zero draw,” meaning that if a device is not plugged into a charger, it would not draw power from the outlet.
Device chargers have gained notoriety for their ability to suck “phantom power” from the grid, i.e., they continue to consume electricity whether they are charging a device or not.
Earlier in March, AT&T began a packaging initiative that it expects to save 200 tons in packaging waste by requiring its cell phone equipment suppliers to reduce packaging.
The strategy involves having slimmer packaging that use less materials. It applies to device chargers, cases, batteries and data cables.
Last year, AT&T hired an energy director to help it reduce its carbon footprint. It also created a sustainability advisory council comprised of AT&T staff, as well as third parties including the Carbon Disclosure Project, Cisco Systems, The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the University of Colorado Denver, and University of Texas at Austin.