Reducing Waste One Innovation at a Time
Have you ever known someone so obsessed with reducing waste that they bring all of their recyclables home from vacation? Meet Michael Cowan. As AT&T’s Accessory Director, he’s translating his personal passion for the environment into smart, innovative business solutions.
Today, when you pick up an AT&T device case or a car charger at the store, the box it comes in is smaller than ever before. It’s printed with vegetable-based ink. The paper part of the box is 100 percent recyclable and contains 35 percent post-consumer waste. The plastic parts of the box are different, too – AT&T uses 30 percent plant-based materials sourced from sugarcane, a rapid-growing agricultural crop.
Thanks to Michael’s leadership, AT&T has eliminated the use of tons of paper and plastic in our packaging – a 65 percent reduction in paper and a 33 percent reduction in plastic. That adds up to more than 500 tons of paper and plastic each year!
Michael is also a key player in the development of the world’s first zero-draw charger for mobile phones. Until AT&T introduced the ZERO Charger in 2010 and it quickly became one of our best-selling accessories, all phone chargers left plugged into an outlet drew power, whether or not a device was attached.
ZERO Charger works by automatically cutting the power supply from a wall socket when it senses that a mobile phone is no longer connected, and improves charging efficiency when it’s powering a device. We estimate the energy savings are enough to power 24,000 homes for a year or brew 3-4 million cups of coffee each day.
As a man who proudly reports that he only needs to take the garbage at home out once every three weeks because of his diligent efforts to compost and recycle, Michael’s commitment to the environment helps AT&T – and our customers – with solutions that help create a sustainable tomorrow.
For more information, please visit www.att.com/csr