CTIA Sets ‘Green’ Targets for Devices

WASHINGTON — Wireless companies have come up with a game plan for increasing the recycling of old devices and decreasing the amount of packaging materials that accompany them, both in an effort to make it easier to be green.

But they are still not ready for the government to standardize accessories as a way to cut down on waste.

CTIA: The Wireless Association said last week that its Green Working Group (GWG) has developed a plan for encouraging recycling, which will increasingly be an issue as smartphones and tablets assume more of the video consumption and computing load and as technology leads to more frequently released new iterations of those devices.

The goal of the initiative, which includes more education, a coordinated “take-back” program and use of third-party recyclers that meet government standards, is to boost device recycling by 20% by 2015.

As a way to reduce the need for recycling waste, the working group has set various benchmarks, including eliminating plastic inserts and trays from postpaid device packaging by the end of 2013; better labeling; a reduction in the use of volatile organize compounds by that same date; and the use of waterbased adhesives and non-petroleum based inks on user guides by the end of 2014.

Some in Congress — notably Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), ranking member of the House Committee on Natural Resources — have pushed for legislation that would standardize chargers for electronic devices, to cut down on the number of accessories that have to be tossed, or preferably recycled, when equipment is changed. CTIA does not favor a government-mandate approach.

“The industry has worked, and will continue to work, toward harmonization, both for ease of consumer use and environmental reasons,” CTIA vice president of government affairs Jot Carpenter told Multichannel News. “While we recognize that all the work is not done, we believe that legislation or regulation is unnecessary.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.