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Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
Sprint Launches Carbon-Negative, Methane-Based iPhone Cases

Today Sprint announced it will be one of the first companies to use AirCarbon™, a new carbon-negative plastic made from methane gas, instead of petroleum. The material will be used in black and pink cell phone cases for the iPhone® 5 and iPhone® 5s that will be sold online exclusively on Sprint.com beginning later this month. Sprint says it is the first telecommunications company in the world to launch a carbon-negative product using AirCarbon.

“AirCarbon™ offers a new paradigm in which products we use every day, like cellphone cases, become part of the environmental solution,” said Mark Herrema, Newlight Technologies co-founder and CEO. "Newlight’s mission is to replace petroleum-based plastics with greenhouse gas-based plastics on a commodity scale by out-competing on price and performance — harnessing the power of our choices as consumers to make change. We’re thankful for companies like Sprint, which are helping us realize our founding vision of taking greenhouse gases and turning them into commercially useful products that generate both an environmental and economic benefit.”

“We are pleased to introduce this new technology — essentially turning greenhouse gas into a plastic that has the potential to replace petroleum-based plastics,” said David Owens, Sprint’s SVP of Product. “This innovation is another example of Sprint’s leadership in providing eco-friendly products to our customers.”

AirCarbon is an independently verified, cradle-to-grave (including all energy inputs, transportation and end-of-life) carbon-negative material, quantifiably reducing the amount of carbon in the air in every ounce of AirCarbon™ produced. In fact, the weight of the new cell phone case is the same weight in carbon (as CO2-equivalent GHG) that has been sequestered and would otherwise be part of the air by making the case, generating a net positive environmental impact.

In other GHG-sequestration news, in August an Australian startup called Mineral Carbonation International (MCi) established a CO2 mineral carbonation research pilot plant at the University of Newcastle (UoN), to trial a new technology that transforms captured CO2 emissions into forms of carbonate rock for potential use as building materials in the construction industry. The project follows six years of research and development undertaken by the UoN, GreenMag Group and industry partner Orica Limited. This led to the development of a new method for permanently and safely disposing of carbon from the emissions of fossil fuel electricity generators and other industrial processes, which can effectively close the loop on carbon dioxide altogether.

In other Sprint news, last month the company announced a collaboration with socially conscious mobile provider BetterWorld Wireless to offer Phone for PhoneTM mobile service, which will provide digital access to people in need by donating a mobile device for every qualified new US mobile customer. BetterWorld says mobile devices allow people around the world access to information and opportunities that can empower them to create pathways out of poverty — its goal is for the Phone for Phone donations to help generate economic and educational opportunities for women, girls and others in underserved communities in the US and around the world.

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