The Evolution of Greener Device Packaging at Sprint says the company now saves some 2,100 metric tons of carbon dioxide for each million devices it produces. Sustainable packaging also saves the company 8,800 MWh of energy and 8,9000 kilogallons of water for each million devices produced, the study says.
The white paper was co-authored by Rory Bakke, president of Sustainable Concepts Studio and environmental consulting firm Quantis International, which performed a full life cycle assessment for three generations of Sprint device packages.
The LCA studied all aspects of Sprint-branded device packaging, beginning with the extraction of raw materials, through manufacture, transport, usage and end of life.
The research examined five categories (climate change, human health, ecosystem quality, resources depletion and water withdrawal) and found that a series of changes have led to environmental-impact reductions.
Compared to the first-generation “black box” style used in 2009, Sprint’s current packaging by Deutsch Design Works is 60 percent smaller in volume and 50 percent lighter in weight. The company’s literature packaging rate has also been reduced by 70 percent. Sprint achieved these reductions by developing standard sizes for its packaging, decreasing box sizes, reducing ink coverage and removing laminates, the white paper says. The company also reduced printed education materials and user guides — or put them on the device or online.
Besides lowering material use and costs, these packaging changes mean more devices fit onto each loading palette, reducing the number of plane flights and truck runs necessary to move them.
Today, all Sprint-branded packaging is 100 percent recyclable, and boxes are made from unbleached kraft paper, using a minimum of 30 percent post-consumer recycled material, the study says. Packaging is printed with soy inks and uses eco-friendly adhesives and aqueous coatings.
The LCA was conducted to meet International Standardization Organization 14040 and 14044 standards for public disclosure, which include a protocol for peer review.
Sprint ranked No. 4 in the environment category on CR Magazine’s Best Corporate Citizens 2013 list published last month.