Notice to all gadget makers and vendors: if you reduce your packaging and engage in environmentally conscious behavior, you'll get free press out of it and positive brand awareness to boot. Take for example AT&T's newly announced design specifications for its own-brand phone accessories and packaging requirements for cellphone makers. Both are geared toward minimizing the surplus of paper and plastic that tends to come with the purchase of your device, and both will require the use of recycled and recyclable materials. AT&T expects to save 200 tons of excess materials by the end of 2010, which is very encouraging, but also disturbing in that it lets us know we were wasting 200 tons each year that could, presumably, have been saved by some sager planning. Anyway, better late than never -- and guess what, it will probably end up costing the company less than those inane advert attacks on Verizon.

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AT&T moves toward eco-friendly packaging, earns our approbation