By Dr. Cameron Chai
AT&T, a major communications holding company, announced that it will adopt a new plant-based plastic in its accessory packaging. The plastic includes about 30% of plant-based materials derived form ethanol that are harvested from sugarcane.
The natural sugarcane utilized in the new material is a renewable agricultural crop. It substitutes approximately one third of the fossil fuels that are traditionally used in accessory packaging with materials produced from plants. The plant-based plastic will be utilized in packaging for the company’s wireless accessories including power accessories and device cases.
AT&T becomes the first US telecom company to use the plant plastic in its packaging. The company is working with its accessory suppliers to implement less packaging and highly sustainable paper and plastic. AT&T is committed to reducing its environmental impact and the use of plant plastic in accessory packaging is one of the significant steps to achieve this objective. AT&T had earlier released its plans to decrease the size of its packaging. As a result, the company has prevented the use of more than 500 t of plastic and paper in packaging in 2010 and 2011. The new plastic packaging will be available in stores and online from October , 2011.
In addition to the adoption of plant-based plastic, AT&T has taken several initiatives to minimize the total environmental impact of packaging, including use of recycled paperboard and soy or vegetable-based ink.