Obviously, waste reduction begins with using less. That’s where we can make the biggest and fastest difference.
Since 2007, we’ve done just that — reducing the amount of paper used in our commercial offices and retail stores by 84 percent.
Once we’ve streamlined and reduced the waste we produce, emphasis turns to reuse and recycling. We try to keep as much operational waste out of landfills as possible. It’s better for the environment and less taxing on natural resources. We turn to third-party recycling partners to give waste a second life. And we encourage employees and other companies to reduce, reuse or recycle waste, at work and at home.
The four areas we focus on are:
Reducing operational waste sent to landfills
- Reducing operational waste sent to landfills
- Eliminating hazardous waste
- Helping employees to recycle
- Enabling other companies to find landfill alternatives
In 2015, Sprint generated 14,813 metric tons of non-electronic, non-hazardous operational waste and we kept 63 percent of it out of landfills. The operational waste recycled in 2015 was mostly ferrous and nonferrous metals from our network, lead-acid batteries, and mixed recyclables. Together, these represent 81 percent of the operational waste we recycled.
Eliminating hazardous waste
Sprint operations do not generate hazardous waste, and we are considered a Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator
by EPA standards. When we discover hazardous waste in Sprint facilities, typically in network switches and administrative sites, we dispose of it responsibly. For instance, in 2015, we discovered 941 kg of hazardous waste, primarily excess paint left by contractors. Sprint disposed of it in accordance with EPA regulations. Our goal year in, year out: having zero hazardous waste that needs disposing.
Helping Sprint employees to recycle
Recycling is on the rise at Sprint. Employees now have more options than ever for recycling materials at work. Sprint also makes it easy and convenient for thousands of employees to recycle their household waste. The Sprint headquarters, in Overland Park, Kan., offers employees convenient and free recycling options for glass, plastic, aluminum, gently used clothing and even document shredding.
Enabling other companies to find landfill alternatives
The Sprint Foundation, our philanthropic arm, has given Bridging the Gap
$115,000 in grants to fund the Midwest Materials Exchange
. It’s an initiative based on the adage "one man's trash is another man's treasure." Member companies in Missouri and neighboring states work together to reuse and recycle by-products of production. Company representatives connect to brainstorm ways their own by-products can collectively be given new life as materials for another company's production and operations. The goal of creating this marketplace is to help participants reduce the amount of trash they send to landfills by finding other uses for it.
Unfortunately, we live in a disposable world. That’s changing. But it’s going take time to ensure that production and the planet live in harmony. The more we reduce, reuse and recycle, the closer we can come to that reality.