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Waste Management

Materiality Assessment Topics: E-waste; Hazardous waste; Solid waste from operations & office activity

Issue Summary

Business operations produce waste, which can be minimized on the front end by increasing operational efficiency and on the back end through recycling and responsible disposal.

Our Position

From the buildings we occupy to the phones we sell, we seek to minimize waste in our operations.

Data Highlights

Our Action

We are committed to reducing the waste byproducts of our operations and to handle the waste we produce responsibly.

Solid Waste from Operations

The AT&T Global Supply Chain Investment Recovery group works across all entities and affiliates of the company to reuse, sell and recycle materials (including operational waste, network materials and scrap) that fall under the solid waste category. The group sent less than 4 percent of the materials it received to landfills in 2015.

In 2015, the Global Supply Chain Investment Recovery group handled in excess of 54 million pounds of operational waste and kept more than 52.3 million pounds of these materials from landfills, including:

  • Copper and copper cable: 19.1 million pounds.
  • Steel: 9 million pounds
  • Lead: 1.5 million pounds
  • Plastic: 3.4 million pounds
  • Aluminum: 688,000 pounds 

This group strives to recycle more than 95 percent of all the material that is received by our reclamation centers and qualified disposition suppliers to make the most efficient use of our resources. Investment Recovery continues to pursue viable recycling options for items previously sent to landfills.

In 2015, Investment Recovery continues to expand the program and expertise to assist international groups, wireless and other AT&T entities, including DIRECTV, in the proper disposal of electronic, network, cable and other assets.

Solid Non-Hazardous Waste from Office Activity

In 2015, our total solid non-hazardous (office activity material) waste was estimated at 140,662 tons. Twenty six percent, or 36,874 tons, was diverted from landfills in 2015.

The facilities evaluated for non-hazardous waste activity include administrative, retail, warehouse and work center facilities, as well as some larger network facilities that we have determined represent the vast majority of our office waste generation.  At the identified sites, we estimate our administrative waste (mixed materials such as paper, cardboard, plastic, aluminum and glass) generated and diverted. Thirty-nine percent of our employees are assigned to the group of buildings for which we are tracking waste diversion. Office recycling is now available in more than 4,800 facilities, resulting in the recycling of more than 11.2 million pounds of office-grade paper. 

Regulated Waste

In 2015, more than 13,000 tons of regulated and non-regulated waste was managed by the AT&T Resource Recovery Center team.1 We recycled more than 9,000 tons, or 69 percent, of this.


E-waste is an issue of growing importance, and we are committed to handling e-waste responsibly. The AT&T Global Supply Chain Investment Recovery group requires the use of only qualified and R2 certified recyclers and vendors. In 2015, we generated 2.9 million pounds of e-waste. To that end, last year the Investment Recovery Group collected more than 100,000 computers, monitors, servers and other office equipment for sale and/or recycling. This included: 

  • Roughly  20,000 desktop computers
  • More than 29,000 monitors
  • More than  24,000 laptop computers
  • More than  25,000 other related components

Read more about our product recycling and reuse and packaging waste reduction efforts as well as more learn more information about efforts at DIRECTV.

1 This does not include normal refuse handled by solid waste vendors for disposal or used/retired treated wood utility poles, but does include water removed and managed from underground vaults not located on AT&T property.

Updated on: Aug 2, 2016