We seek to minimize waste throughout our operations — from the buildings we occupy to the services and devices we sell.
1 Our total waste and recycling figures, and the diversion rate thereof, represent all waste accounted for through AT&T’s e-waste, general solid waste, investment recovery and regulated (hazardous and non-hazardous) waste programs.
- Waste Overview
AT&T manages the waste generated by our business operations through numerous channels. Our total waste figure represents all waste accounted for through AT&T’s e-waste, general solid waste, investment recovery and regulated (hazardous and non-hazardous) waste programs. We continually strive to expand our scope of waste reporting and reduce the environmental impacts of our waste. AT&T also proactively seeks to create productive uses for our waste at the end of its life. In total, AT&T managed 191,865 metric tons (MT) of waste and recovered more than 29 million consumer devices in 2018.
Our waste recycling and management programs are covered by several different organizations including Investment Recovery, Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S), Real Estate and Supply Chain. Investment Recovery focuses on the recycling of high volume common materials within our network operations. EH&S manages waste generated by various AT&T operations including the Construction and Engineering, Technical Field Services and Mobility business units. EH&S also oversees recycled wastes such as batteries and e-waste, and other managed wastes such as hazardous and non-hazardous wastes generated by other business units. Our Real Estate team focuses on general solid waste generated at corporate facilities, while our Supply Chain team manages our electronics recycling with several e-waste recyclers.
- Investment Recovery
At AT&T, the Investment Recovery (IR) group in our Global Connections and Supply Chain organization leads the way in establishing our best-in-class practices for minimizing the impact of our waste on the environment. IR work supports network infrastructure assets and materials of wireline and mobility operations for AT&T Comm. Co, and also supports domestic office locations. In 2018, the group sent less than 5.7% of the materials it received to landfills.
The 94% landfill diversion rate for IR is an example for the rest of AT&T of how productive uses can be generated out of our waste. In 2018, IR handled more than 23,341 MT of operational waste and kept more than 22,033 MT of these materials from landfills.
In 2018, the group continued to expand its program and expertise to assist international groups, wireless and other AT&T entities in the proper disposal of electronic, network, cable and other assets.
- General Solid Waste
In 2018, we learned our general solid waste diversion rate was 22%, up from 18% in 2017. This improvement is largely due to our efforts to improve paper and pallet recycling reporting. Our total general solid waste managed was 146,948 MT. Of that waste, 32,136 MT was recycled, with a significant amount — more than 14,339 MT — coming from corrugated material and paper.
- Hazardous and Other Regulated Waste
In 2018, the AT&T Environment, Health and Safety waste program managed more than 12,567 MT of regulated waste, which includes hazardous and non-hazardous waste. We recycled 9,230 MT of this waste — for a diversion rate of 73%. 3 3 As we cannot entirely isolate all non-regulated material in our management processes, it is possible that non-regulated waste may be included and measured in the total regulated waste reported.
AT&T has been working to improve our waste tracking systems. Due to efforts to obtain and upload all shipping documents for waste managed by various business units, we can more accurately measure our waste footprint. Based on amounts reported, we generated more hazardous waste in 2018 as compared to 2017.
To best manage the hazardous waste we generate, we work to identify the most economical and compliant waste management for what is generated. Hazardous waste is disposed in landfills, incinerated and recycled. The primary types of hazardous waste materials generated by AT&T are cylinders, acidic wastes, batteries, contaminated soils and contaminated liquids. We do not include e-waste in our hazardous waste numbers reported here.
AT&T is committed to managing electronic waste in a responsible manner.
The AT&T Global Supply Chain Investment Recovery group directs internal e-waste collected for recycling to vendors that are R2 certified, and AT&T internal and device electronic waste is responsibly recycled to the R2 standard. We also follow the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS) and the Waste and Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive for the disposal of electronic waste.
In 2018, more than 4,900 MT of e-waste were managed for recovery and recycling, including 71,000 set-top boxes, computers, monitors, servers and other office equipment for sale and/or recycling. In our international operations, we compliantly recycled more than 8,000 units and 33 MT of electronic devices. Additionally, we manage programs to reclaim and divert high-value network resources such as copper telecommunications wire and central office equipment. For DIRECTV, we also managed and responsibly recycled 9,009 MT of e-waste in 2018.
To learn more about our product recycling and reuse and our packaging waste reduction efforts, read our Product Life Cycle issue brief.
Since the acquisition of WarnerMedia in June 2018 and the launch of Xandr in September 2018, we are continuing to integrate operationally and through our CSR reporting. For this reason, information for these 2 affiliates is not included in this brief, except where specifically referenced.
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