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ADDRESING OUR PRODUCTS’ IMPACT s h r k g o u r f o o t p r t M e e t M i c h a e l C o w a n . S e l f - d e c l a r e d a s o b s e s s e d w i t h r e c y c l i n g a n d a v o i d i n g w a s t e , h e also happens to be director of product marketing for wireless at AT&T. Under his leadership, AT&T has been working with its phone accessory suppliers to reduce packaging size. Using less material not only results in less waste, but often a lower cost as well.

“From a packaging standpoint, we really look at three things,” Michael explained. “One is obviously to showcase the product to increase the sales. Two is to save money where possible. And three is to improve the sustainable impact of the packaging itself.” Michael and his team worked with vendors to achieve all three goals. They estimate that the amount of waste avoided in 2010 by their efforts is about 200 tons—accounting for both paper and plastic. As an example, Michael cited car charger packaging—which his team was able to shrink by 60 percent. They also switched from a petroleum-based ink to a vegetable-based ink, and from using a PVC plastic to PET, which is more recyclable. In addition,

They estimate that the amount of waste avoided in 2010 by their efforts is about 200 tons—accounting for both paper and plastic.

they are moving toward having all the paperboard in the packaging come from 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper. This effort will continue in 2011.

Michael was also key in the collaboration with AT&T’s supplier, Superior Communications, to introduce the world’s first zero draw charger that automatically cuts the power supply from a wall socket when it senses that a mobile phone is not connected to the charger, and improves charging efficiency when powering a device. The AT&T ZERO Charger became one of AT&T’s top 10 best selling accessories in 2010.

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