August 12, 2009

Sprint Launches Samsung's Eco-Friendly Phone and New Environmental Initiatives

According to Greenpeace International, electronic waste (e-waste) "is now the fastest growing component of the municipal solid waste stream because people are upgrading their mobile phones, computers, televisions, audio equipment and printers more frequently than ever before." Despite the several, Greenpeace claims "mobile phones and computers are causing the biggest problem because they are replaced most often." A mobile phone contains 500 to 1000 components including toxic heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium and beryllium and hazardous chemicals, such as brominated flame retardants. Polluting PVC plastic is also frequently used. Considering the wide availability of mobile phone recycling programs, several studies report that only 3-5 percent of mobile phones are actually sent to recycling facilities by consumers. This creates a need to manufacture mobile phones with eco-friendly products and recyclable materials.

On August 16, 2009, Overland Park, Kansas-based Sprint Nextel launched the Samsung Reclaim™, the first phone available in the United States constructed from eco-friendly bio-plastic materials. According to Sprint's news release, "Made from 80 percent recyclable materials, Samsung Reclaim is a feature-rich messaging phone that offers environmentally conscious customers a perfect blend of responsibility without sacrificing the latest in network speeds and must-have features."

The Samsung Reclaim from Sprint is designed with environmentally-responsible components and fully recyclable packaging, which will gain the attention of eco-conscious consumers. Some of the added-value components of the Reclaim include:
  • Its bio-plastic material, made from corn, makes up 40 percent of the Reclaim's outer casing. Samsung Reclaim is free of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), phthalates, and nearly free of brominated flame retardants (BFR): three materials commonly targeted on green electronics guidelines;
  • The outer packaging and the phone tray inside the box are made from 70 percent recycled materials. The images and text on the box as well as the phone warranty information are printed with soy-based ink;
  • The typical thick paper user manual has been replaced with a virtual manual that users can access at; and
  • The charger is Energy Star approved for meeting the highest energy efficiency standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. It consumes 12 times less power than the Energy Star standard for standby power consumption and is equipped with a visible notification to alert the user to unplug the handset once it’s fully charged.
With the release of the Reclaim, Sprint is also expanding its Corporate Social Responsibility program. "When customers purchase Samsung Reclaim from Sprint, $2 of the proceeds will benefit The Nature Conservancy's Adopt an Acre program, which supports land conservation across the United States and protects some of the world's most beautiful and important natural habitats."

Sprint press release also explains the launching of several new environmental initiatives in an effort to support the company's aggressive long-term environmental goals:
  • Sprint is the first U.S. wireless carrier to establish a set of environmental design criteria for future devices and accessories;
  • Sprint is implementing a series of new environmentally-responsible retail initiatives including adding a dedicated display area in stores that highlights Sprint's commitment to eco-friendly products and accessories; and
  • Sprint is committing to reduce paper usage by 30 percent during the next five year.
The Samsung Reclaim will come with Sprint's One Click, a "customizable user interface with quick access to such social networks as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and YouTube. A new green One Click tile makes its debut on Reclaim providing the gateway to several green applications." These applications include:
  • Five Simple Steps from Discovery Channel provides five simple changes you can make to be more eco-friendly, from how you commute to what you eat for dinner;
  • Green Guides from Discovery Channel offers handy guides to help you green your lives with ease, and understand why;
  • Green Glossary from Discovery Channel provides words and explanations about the Earth and Climate Change; and
  • All Things Green, a Sprint Web category contains dynamic green headline and links to downloadable content.
Below is a video produced by IntoMobile about the new and innovative Samsung Reclaim.

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