Wireless Industry Sustainability
CTIA-The Wireless Association® and the wireless industry's sustainability efforts include developing environmentally-friendly products and services, implementing energy-conscious measures in its network operations and business practices and educating consumers about cellphone recycling. By changing our own practices and providing innovative solutions and applications for other industries, we are making major contributions to creating a low-carbon economy.
Many CTIA carrier and supplier members are bolstering their environmentally responsible business practices by reducing their waste and emissions and implementing e-billing, alternative energy powered cell sites and energy-saving IT programs.
When our annual International CTIA WIRELESS® Show is in Las Vegas, CTIA has reduced our show’s environmental impact by working with GreenerVegas.org to save substantial amounts of paper, plastic, water and energy.
In addition to the numerous efforts the industry is taking with its own products, services and operations, perhaps the single greatest contribution the wireless industry makes to being “green” can be summed up in one word – efficiencies. Around the world, companies have deployed wireless technology to revolutionize their operations and reduce their environmental impact.
To help educate consumers and policymakers about the wireless industry’s initiatives and programs to create a low-carbon economy, CTIA launched “go wireless, go green” website on Earth Day 2011.
- For consumers, the site provides tips on how to be more environmentally responsible, including a step-by-step guide on how to safely and securely recycle devices and accessories, FAQ, additional third party resources and a glossary.
- Individuals who want to know more about the programs our members have implemented to make their operations more sustainable should visit the “What We Do” section, which highlights utility/water efficiency, recycling and e-waste, devices and packaging, operations and individual company initiatives.
- To learn how wireless technology provides eco-friendly value for other industries, readers should visit the “How We Help Others” section, which explains how businesses deploy wireless technology to improve their operations, utility/water efficiency and other case studies.
The wireless industry recognizes its responsibility to our environment for the health of the planet and future generations. We look forward to continuing to work with all interested parties on green initiatives to protect and positively affect the environment.
- Wireless companies are enhancing and implementing eco-friendly business practices. CTIA and our members are committed to sustainable operations to reduce our environmental impact. The same benefits that wireless provides other organizations enhance our members’ efficiencies. By deploying utility and water efficient wireless products and services such as mobile meters and machine-to-machine (M2M) communication technologies, some of our members have saved up to 70 percent in their energy costs and have significantly reduced their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Our members have also saved tons of CO2 emissions and fuel consumption by increasing the number of service and passenger alternative-fuel vehicles. In addition to reducing CO2 emissions, many wireless companies have implemented waste reduction and recycling programs; started commuter/telework programs encouraging employees to carpool or work from home; and created sustainable ecological offices that use renewable energy and are more efficient.
- Wireless is helping other industries being environmentally efficient. Businesses around the nation – and world – are saving billions of dollars and reducing their environmental footprint by implementing wireless technology. By wirelessly submitting work orders, customer forms and credit card payments, millions are saved each year on paper and fuel costs. Through real-time management of fleets (such as delivery vehicles, sanitation trucks, school buses or farm equipment), dispatchers are able to wirelessly monitor and route their fleets, thereby saving millions of gallons of fuel and cutting thousands of tons of CO2 emissions every year. Wireless is also providing businesses with the opportunity to establish “flex” plans for their employees so they can work offsite, which is proving to be a time- and cost-efficient substitute.
- Wireless is key to advancing our nation's energy efficiency and independence. CTIA believes that wireless is a critical component of smart grid technology adoption and deployment. Smart grids refer to an interconnected network of two-way communications – source and hub – in which highly-automated signals ping back and forth from wireless radios and monitoring devices (or "smart meters"). These signals allow utility companies to monitor and manage these highly complex utility, energy and water systems, which stabilize their grid by preventing outages and other potential issues. This technical smart grid system means utility and water companies are more cost-efficient by managing their supply with consumer demand. At the same time, smart meters allow consumers to better manage their water and energy usage, which lowers their costs and carbon footprint. Congress and the FCC have identified smart grids as a promising way to advance energy independence and efficiency as part of the National Broadband Plan. By 2030, the Electric Power Research Institute estimated the implementation of smart grid technologies will have saved $20.4 billion for U.S. consumers and businesses by reducing electricity usage by 4 percent. This is significant savings since Xcel Energy projects a 40 percent increase in consumer demand for utilities over the next 25 years.
- Consumers have many options to participate in wireless device and accessory recycling programs. Thanks to the constant innovation and competition within the U.S. wireless industry, consumers are frequently upgrading their wireless devices to take advantage of the newest and hottest mobile products and services. Many of CTIA's members have developed or supported numerous programs that promote the recycling of cellphones and other wireless devices. Whether it's directly from a carrier, manufacturer or a third party organization, consumers have a variety of options to recycle their "old" devices and accessories, including drop-off or mail back programs, websites and charity drives. If you're not sure where to recycle your wireless devices, all of CTIA's carrier members will accept any device or accessory at their stores, regardless of which carrier provided your service. For detailed recycling instructions, visit go wireless, go green.
- The wireless industry creates sustainable wireless devices and packaging. Wireless manufacturers are incorporating a variety of green practices into the development and production of new devices and accessories. They continually improve the design of wireless devices and packaging to be more lightweight and environmentally-friendly. In fact, on average the new generations of wireless devices currently weigh approximately 79g; this is 42 percent less than earlier models. Wireless manufacturers are also using sustainable and recyclable materials, such as biopaints and bioplastics that are made from vegetable oil, not crude oil. Manufacturers have eliminated or greatly reduced the use of hazardous substances such as brominated flame retardants (BFRs), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), lead and cadmium.
- U.S. wireless industry supports a “One-Charger-Fits-All” Universal Charger Solution (UCS) to reduce energy consumption and consumer costs. U.S. wireless industry supports a “One-Charger-Fits-All” Universal Charger Solution (UCS) to reduce energy consumption and consumer costs. As of January 1, 2012, many of the new smartphones in the U.S. will have a UCS solution. The UCS will provide an estimated 50 percent reduction in standby energy consumption by utilizing the micro-USB format as the common universal charging interface and use energy-efficient chargers that meet U.S. “Energy Star” requirements for external power adapters. Developed by the Open Mobile Terminal Platform industry standards group and adopted by GSMA, 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. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Energy Star requirements for external power adapters. In addition, CTIA supports simplifying the input/output features for new wireless devices introduced to the market after January 2012 as a way to streamline and reduce the number of audio and data connectors for mobile devices.
Last Updated: July 2011