We seek to minimize waste throughout our operations – from the buildings we occupy to the services and products we sell to customers.
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1 All 2021 data are estimated. Final values will be available in Q2 2022. Additionally, please note that waste data may not be complete due to the challenge of getting all business unit (BU) direct vendor hires to upload final shipping documents to the central waste tracking system. Our Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) team is continually working with BUs to ensure vendors submit all final shipping documents to the central tracking system for reporting.
2 2019–2021 data inclusive of AT&T Communications and select WarnerMedia and Xandr locations. DIRECTV is also included in all data through the end of 2021. Vrio data is not included. Note: In July 2021, we completed a transaction with TPG Capital involving our North America video business – including DIRECTV, AT&T TV and U-verse – to form a new company called DIRECTV. In November 2021, we completed the sale of our Latin America video operations, Vrio, to Grupo Werthein.
3 2017–2018 data for waste generation and management represent all waste accounted for through AT&T Inc.’s domestic U.S. general solid waste, investment recovery and hazardous waste programs. The 2019–2021 data for waste generation and management represent all waste accounted for through AT&T Inc.’s domestic U.S. general solid waste, investment recovery, e-waste, furniture recycling, paper shredding, pallet recycling and regulated (hazardous and nonhazardous) waste programs, unless otherwise noted.
4 Due to improved reporting, total nonhazardous waste composted and reused is included in distinct categories for the first time in 2020.
5 This category does not include WarnerMedia donations to local community partners as donated materials are tracked by number of pieces donated, not weight.
6 This category represents nonhazardous waste for which data on the management method was unavailable. AT&T is continually updating the vendor submittal process to integrate enhanced waste reporting metrics into contracts.
7 Percentages are calculated as percent of total domestic hazardous waste.
8 This category consists of hazardous waste for which the waste management vendors did not report the final disposal method, primarily because they were consolidated with wastes from other companies at the treatment, storage and disposal facilities prior to final disposition. Our EHS Waste team is continually working with those vendors to more accurately report the final disposition of all AT&T hazardous waste.
TOPIC: Landfill Diversion
2030 GOAL: Reduce the amount of U.S. waste we send to landfill by 30% (2019 base year).
Please note that 2021 general solid waste, solid waste goals, and hazardous and other regulated waste data is estimated. Final data will be available Q2 2022.
We are committed to reducing waste in our operations and responsibly handling the waste that we produce.
Despite these challenges, we continually work to expand our scope of waste reporting and to reduce the environmental impacts of our waste.
Several organizations across our operating companies, including Global Connections and Supply Chain (GCSC); Environment, Health and Safety (EHS); and Real Estate, lead our waste recycling and management programs.
- Our GCSC team works with several e-waste recyclers to manage electronics recycling. The Supply Chain Investment Recovery (IR) group focuses on the recycling and potential resale of high-volume common materials within our internal network operations.
- EHS manages regulated waste generated by various AT&T operations, including the Construction and Engineering, Technical Field Services, and Mobility business units. EHS also provides guidance to AT&T’s various business units regarding the recycling of batteries and e-waste and the management of other regulated wastes.
- Our real estate teams manage general solid waste at our corporate facilities and work with our waste vendors to measure waste and implement programs to encourage waste reduction, recycling and composting.
- WarnerMedia teams focus on managing and reducing various waste streams from WarnerMedia productions and administrative facilities.
The AT&T Global Connections and Supply Chain IR group leads the way in establishing practices that minimize the environmental impact of our internal waste and e-waste. IR works with our contracted R2-certified vendors to recover and recycle network infrastructure assets. The R2 certification is a comprehensive global certification awarded to facilities that adhere to responsible electronics recycling standards. Materials are dismantled, sorted and baled by commodity in preparation for sale or recycling. Scrap materials processed by IR include copper and fiber-optic telecommunications wire and central office equipment.
When AT&T vacates facilities and outside plant infrastructure, our teams remove all regulated materials and coordinate with vendors to recycle and dispose of the materials in an appropriate manner. We remove aerial cables and process underground cables based on municipality-specific rules. Our material removal process varies by site to adhere to specific local waste removal regulations and guidelines.
General Solid Waste
In 2021, as part of an Internet of Things collaboration with multiple third-party waste vendors, we expanded our pilot of smart dumpster monitoring systems to reduce costs and carbon footprint while improving workflows. The expansion has revealed additional opportunities to optimize AT&T’s waste services and reduce miles traveled for haulers, which helps to decrease fuel use and associated carbon emissions.
Solid Waste Goals
We are also continuing our Zero Waste Furniture Program, which aims to divert from landfill 90% of AT&T’s surplus office furniture – including office desks, tables, file cabinets, chairs, modular panels and office partitions. Our disposition strategy is to 1) reuse, 2) resell, 3) donate or 4) recycle. The pandemic-related closure of many charities through 2021 presented fewer donation options. In response, we amplified recycling efforts. In 2021, the program recycled more than 1,500 tons, resold over 91 tons and donated approximately 218 tons.
Hazardous and Other Regulated Waste
AT&T is committed to complying with all applicable environment, health and safety laws and regulations and to promoting pollution prevention through strategies like recycling and minimizing the generation of hazardous waste.
We have formalized a set of procedures for managing and disposing of hazardous waste, applicable to all operating companies. To ensure compliance and improve the accuracy of waste reporting and metrics for those business units that directly hire vendors to manage their hazardous and other regulated waste, we enhanced systems and processes to ensure that records for all hazardous and other regulated waste disposal are gathered in one place for comprehensive tracking.
AT&T’s primary hazardous waste includes compressed gas cylinders, aerosol cans, acidic wastes, batteries, contaminated soils and contaminated liquids. To minimize the impacts of hazardous waste, we first look to reduce the amount generated. Once hazardous waste is generated, our highest priority is always recycling, and we have implemented recycling programs for batteries and aerosol cans to divert those waste streams from landfills. Where there is no recycling or reuse option, hazardous waste is physically treated, incinerated or disposed of in an appropriate landfill as a last resort.
At AT&T, we believe all electronic devices should be reused, refurbished or recycled, and we encourage our customers to participate in this ongoing initiative. For information about recycling AT&T devices, visit our device recycling website.
AT&T is also committed to managing our internal electronic waste in a responsible manner. AT&T’s internal electronic device waste, as well as assets and materials managed by our AT&T Global Connections & Supply Chain Investment Recovery group, is responsibly recycled with R2-certified vendors. We follow the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive and the Waste and Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive for electronic waste disposal. AT&T is also collaborating with peers through wireless industry group GSMA workgroups focused on consumer device and network equipment recycling.
To learn more about our product recycling and reuse and our packaging waste reduction eﬀorts, read our Product Life Cycle issue brief.