In honor of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, CTIA is continuing to raise awareness about the wireless industry’s green initiatives and the numerous ways wireless technologies are helping companies around the world and across all sectors reduce their carbon footprints, increase efficiencies and cut costs.
Earth Day serves to remind all of us to re-evaluate our environmental impact – whether it’s as an individual or as part of a business. Our members recognize their responsibility and have been leaders in developing environmentally-friendly products and services, implementing energy-conscious measures in their network operations and business practices and educating consumers about end-of-life and recycling device and accessory programs.
By implementing wireless technology, businesses around the country – and world – are saving millions of dollars and reducing their environmental footprint. When businesses wirelessly submit work orders, customer forms and credit card payments, millions of dollars are saved each year on paper and fuel costs. By wirelessly monitoring and routing their fleets, a wide array of entities and businesses, from school districts and farmers to city sanitation departments and public transportation systems, are saving millions of gallons of fuel and cutting thousands of tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions every year. Finally, smart grid technologies are beginning to be deployed as a promising way to advance energy independence and efficiency.
Wireless companies are also enhancing and implementing eco-friendly practices in their own businesses. With energy accounting for about 86 percent of a wireless carrier’s expense, many are exploring the use of alternative energy sources such as wind, bio-fuel and solar power at cell sites. Additional energy-conscious measures being implemented by wireless companies include:
- Using more energy-efficient and environmentally responsible equipment and components in their overall operations to find energy savings of up to 70% and substantial reductions in their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
- Developing eco-friendly devices and accessories such as carbon neutral phones and solar-powered handsets and chargers.
- Improving the design of wireless devices and packaging to be more lightweight and environmentally-friendly. The use of substances such as lead and cadmium are being phased out of devices while increasing the use of recycled materials. In fact, the new generations of wireless devices currently weigh approximately 79g; this is 42 percent less than earlier models.
The wireless industry is also committed to supporting a “one-charger-fits-all” Universal Charger Solution (UCS) for many new wireless devices, beginning January 1, 2012 as a way to reduce energy consumption and consumer costs. Developed by the Open Mobile Terminal Platform industry standards group and adopted by GSMA, the UCS will provide an estimated 50 percent reduction in standby energy consumption. The UCS will use the Micro-USB format as the common universal charging interface and use energy efficient chargers in compliance with the U.S. “Energy Star” requirements for external power adapters.
Since 1998, CTIA has worked with GreenerVegas.org to reduce its international tradeshow’s environmental impact and has saved substantial amounts of paper, plastic, water and energy.
In addition to the independent and ongoing recycling efforts by the major U.S. carrier companies, the wireless industry voluntarily developed a nationwide recycling campaign called “Wireless…The New Recyclable” in 2003. The centerpiece of this public outreach and awareness campaign is an in-store phone take-back program that allows consumers to bring their used wireless devices and accessories to carrier retail outlets for recycling purposes.
To learn more about the wireless industry’s green initiatives, click here.