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Sprint Sustainable Packaging FAQ

Why is my Sprint package the same color as a paper bag?

We use unbleached kraft paper for our packaging, which is made with a minimum of 50% post-consumer paper content.

Can I recycle my Sprint packages?

Yes. All of Sprint's packages are 100% recyclable. In communities where recycling is available, you can simply place the entire Sprint device packaging in the recycle bin. For our accessory packaging, just pull the package apart to separate the plastic from the paper before you drop it into the recycling container

I see that triangle logo with the arrows a lot. What does it mean?

Recycling Logo

When you see the logo with three "chasing arrows," you know that the material it's printed on can commonly be recycled. This logo, known as the Universal Recycling Symbol, is used worldwide. For more information on recycling, go to Earth 911.

I keep hearing about "post- and pre-consumer paper" in my packaging. Are they different?

Both post and pre consumer papaer fiber is found in recycled paper, but there are some differences. Post-consumer paper is made with paper that has been handled by somebody and diverted from landfills, like printer and news paper that has been recycled. Pre-consumer paper is made from material like the extra bits left over when making a box or the cut ends of paper towel rolls. Sprint currently uses at least 50% post-consumer paper in all of its packaging, greatly reducing it's reliance on virgin paper made directly from trees.

I'm perplexed by plastics. What's the difference between PVC and PET?

PVC, which is made with chlorine, can be found in may common household items — from shower curtains to drain pipes — and is not commonly accepted in community recycling programs. PET is the most often used plastic in the world. It's an inert, lightweight plastic (it's what most soda and water bottles are made from), and most community recycling programs accept it. All of Sprint's accessory packaging is now made with 100% recycled PET plastic.

One of your infographics features elephants. How big are those guys anyway?


Glad you noticed! We were looking for something big to show the impact we've made by reducing the amount of plastic we use in our accessory packaging. We made a 57% reduction in the amount of plastic we use, by weight. That's 36 tons per 1 million accessories sold. We decided to pick the largest (and, we think, wisest) land mammal in the world, the male African elephant. When he's fully grown, he weighs about 14,000 pounds or 7 tons. Now that's a figure that will be hard to forget!

Why are packages made without glue more sustainable?

Glue can sometimes contain toxic chemicals, so designers have found new ways to create packages that are assembled and closed with tabs, not glue. This improvement reduces the amount of resources used in manufacturing.

What does "eco-friendly" mean?

Materials, products or manufacturing processes that are more conscious of their environmental impact are sometimes referred to as eco-friendly.

I've wondered about the big UL logo since I was a kid. Now I see one that has a leaf. What does it mean?

UL Certified

UL stands for Underwriters Laboratory and the logo indicates that the packaged product meets the UL Environment criteria. UL Environment certification enables customers to make smarter purchasing decisions with the environment in mind. Sprint values UL Environment certification as part of its commitment to environmental and social responsibility.

What is the CarbonFund?


The CarbonFund is a nonprofit organization that uses carbon offsets to help businesses compensate for the impact of their greenhouse gas emissions on the environment. It supports direct action on renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation.

What does the FSC logo mean?


The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo ensures that the trees used to make the paper came from forests meeting their stringent criteria. The FSC Certification helps manage forests in a sustainable, responsible way.

I know what soy sauce is, but what are soy inks?

Soy inks are made from soybeans and other vegetables. They were developed as an alternative to inks made from petroleum products and are more compatible with recycling operations.

What are aqueous coatings?

An aqueous coating is a water-soluble finish, which is applied to packages to protect from scuffing while being handled. Like soy inks, they are an alternative to petroleum products. Sprint uses aqueous coatings on packaging.

What are VOCs?

Chemicals that evaporate into the air at room temperature are known as Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs. Reducing VOCs in manufacturing helps to maintain a healthier environment with cleaner air, water and soil.

What is an ecosystem?

An ecosystem is a community of living things like plants and animals sharing a physical environment that includes elements such as climate, soil and water. Rainforests and deserts are types of ecosystems.

Do I leave a "carbon footprint" when I take a walk? What does it mean?

A carbon footprint is a measure of how much carbon dioxide (CO2) is produced by doing anything that requires fossil fuels like petroleum: turning on the lights, driving a car or making a product.

What is a megawatt hour?

A megawatt hour (Mwh) is equal to 1,000 Kilowatt hours (Kwh) delivered continuously for one hour. Kilowatt hours are what you probably see on your home energy bill; megawatt hours are typically used to describe the energy delivered by a power plant. A megawatt hour is roughly equivalent to the amount of electricity 330 homes use in one hour.

What is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)?

An LCA is a tool that measures the total impact on the environment, as well as the health and safety of a product or process from raw materials, through manufacturing, to use, and either disposal or recycling. Sprint uses LCA to calculate the environmental impact of it's packaging.

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