The 3R's (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle)

With the aim of contributing to the creation of a recycling-oriented society, the SoftBank Group conducts a number of 3R activities (3R = Reduce, Reuse, Recycle).
To increase understanding and encourage participation in such activities, eight Japanese government ministries (Ministry of Finance; Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare; Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport; Ministry of the Environment; Consumer Affairs Agency) have designated the month of October as 3R promotion month. Each year, the ministries conduct a variety of activities to raise awareness and promote the concept of 3R nationwide.

Promoting 3R activities

SoftBank Corp.

SoftBank aims to contribute to the creation of a recycling-oriented society by promoting 3R activities to customers.


SoftBank recovers customers' mobile phones and tablet devices that have stopped working due to exposure to water, damage etc. In doing so, the company is helping to reduce waste by reusing materials contained in broken devices, aiming to shift our society from one that disposes to one that recycles.

In addition, SoftBank is working to reduce the volume of paper it uses in the course of sales of mobile devices by reducing packaging and reviewing the use of promotional materials and other documents included in mobile phone packaging.

Reducing packaging

Since July 2007, SoftBank has been reducing the size of mobile phone packaging.

(Size before June 2007: 155×220×102mm)
Timing of change Size after change
(Length × width × height)
Comparison with June 2007 size
From July 2007 138×192×70mm 31%
From February 2009 140×157×62mm 44%
From December 2009 134×145×48mm 55%
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    Comparison with size of packaging box (volume) in June 2007.
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    Excludes some models
Digitizing user manuals

In November 2008, SoftBank revised its user manuals, reducing the volume of accompanying documents by two-thirds.

In December 2009, user manuals were replaced with Quick Start pamphlets, user guides which include instructions on how to operate new and frequently used functions, with the content of the existing manuals made available on SoftBank's website. These initiatives contributed further to the reduction of paper consumption.

In addition, user manuals are installed as applications on all smartphones introduced after June 2011. This allows manuals to be consulted easily while further reducing paper consumption. SoftBank will continue its efforts to improve customer convenience and reduce paper consumption.

Use of iPads

Since March 2011, SoftBank shops have been using iPads instead of pamphlets and catalogues in discussions with customers.

Online billing information

In October 2006, with the aim of promoting environmental conservation through the creation of a paperless environment, SoftBank launched its online billing information service as replacement for standard paper bills. The service allows customers to view their billing statements online via their mobile phone or PC and is provided as a basic service with all individual contracts.


SoftBank encourages customers to trade in their old but still usable mobile phones and tablet devices when upgrading to a new device.

Disposing of usable mobile phones and tablet devices places a heavy burden on the environment. Older devices now lacking demand in Japan may still have sufficient popularity overseas for further use. Devices that are traded in are refurbished and can be reused by customers in other countries, particularly developing nations.


As a member of the Mobile Recycle Network (MRN), an organization promoting the recycling of mobile phones, SoftBank collects used goods including mobile phone handsets, batteries, chargers, and USIM cards, regardless of mobile phone provider or manufacturer. Prior to recycling, SoftBank uses a “phone punch” machine to drive a hole through and destroy each mobile phone handset collected in order to protect customers' personal data.

In FY2015, approximately 1.28 million used mobile phone handsets were collected.

3R activities by group companies

SoftBank Corp.

In March 2004, SoftBank began using security boxes for the disposal of confidential documents at headquarters and all other branches. Through this initiative and others such as the promotion of green procurement activities and efforts to become a paperless company, the SoftBank Group continues to conduct 3R activities.

Promoting green procurement

Since July 2004, as part of its green procurement policy, the SoftBank Group has switched to using recycled copy paper that meets the standards of the Law on Promoting Green Purchasing. When making individual stationery orders online, each employee is encouraged to choose environmentally-friendly products that have been awarded the Eco mark or eco-labels designated by the Law on Promoting Green Purchasing.

In-house Paperless Declaration

Since making our In-house Paperless Declaration in April 2012, the SoftBank Group has actively sought to eliminate paper from internal and external processes, meetings, and reports, with the aim of becoming a paperless company. Moreover, not only are we pursuing the proper disposal of communications equipment and construction waste materials from network facilities, we are also actively reducing the amount of waste produced and improving our rate of recycling while properly disposing of the industrial waste associated with business activities at offices and logistics centers.

“100% paperless” customer support centers realized

To reduce the risk of information leaks occurring when handling printed materials, SoftBank has been eliminating paper items including manuals, notepads, and notices from its day-to-day operations, aiming to become 100% paperless in the handling of customer information at customer support centers. These efforts have enabled SoftBank to reduce its standard annual paper consumption by approximately 3.12 million sheets (equivalent to 240 logs). The company will continue to expand these efforts and targets to other areas of its business.

Security boxes for disposal of confidential documents

The SoftBank Group uses specialized lockable security boxes for the collection and disposal of confidential documents. Rather than disposing of confidential documents individually as paper trash, collecting discarded documents in a specialized locked box and destroying them in bulk later ensures security and allows the paper to be recycled for toilet tissue and other uses.

Proper disposal of industrial waste

The SoftBank Group makes active efforts to not only properly dispose of communication equipment and construction waste produced by network facilities; it also works to reduce the amount of waste actually produced and recycle more efficiently. Industrial waste produced at our offices and logistics centers is disposed of in accordance with laws concerning industrial waste management.

Sprint Corporation

Buyback program for wireless devices

In 2001, Sprint launched a buyback program for wireless devices ahead of its competitors in the U.S., and in 2010, it began offering to buyback the wireless devices of other companies as well. Sprint has been selected by Compass Intelligence, a market intelligence and consulting firm, as the “Most Eco-Focused Carrier” for five years running thanks to its proactive wireless device recycling initiatives and the simplicity of the recycling application process, which can be conducted online or at stores. In 2015, Sprint bought back over 2.5 million wireless devices. The amount returned to customers through the program totaled over $205 million. Over 90% of the devices collected were reused, and the remaining 10% or so were disassembled and melted down to be recycled into materials that are then used in jewelry, batteries, automobile parts, and other products. The buyback program is not only a plus for customers as Sprint has also been able to reduce costs by over U.S.$1.0 billion.

Sprint Corporation、Brightstar Corp.

Contest for Repurposing Old Smartphones

Sprint teamed up with Brightstar Corp. and HOBI International, Inc. to conduct the Smartphone Encore Challenge, a contest that challenges college and graduate students to propose ideas for repurposing smartphones and their components. Used devices in good condition are still capable of importing, processing, saving, and transferring data and parts like acceleration sensors, gyroscopes, GPS, cameras, and screen displays can also be reused. The contest had students formulate product concepts and sales strategies and also produce a short video using refurbished smartphones and accessories provided by Sprint and Brightstar Corp. Through the contest, Sprint is considering potential new ways to address the problem of electronic waste.

Fukuoka SoftBank HAWKS Corp.

The Fukuoka SoftBank HAWKS, in collaboration with Miyazaki City Tourism Association, set out their Declaration on the Environment for HAWKS Village at their at the 2008 spring training camp in Miyazaki. HAWKS Village is an area for events and the sale of the food and goods from the local area. Since that time, the two organizations have been working together with attendees and local businesses to make this event the “Cleanest training camp in Japan”.

Efforts to create the “Cleanest training camp in Japan”

During their 2016 spring training camp, the eighth year of the event, the Fukuoka SoftBank HAWKS promoted the use of recyclable containers and dishes and set up Eco Stations for trash separation and collection.

In addition, the Fukuoka SoftBank HAWKS promotes using public transportation when traveling to the training camp, and the use of green electricity to prevent global warming. Also, smoking areas are separated from non-smoking areas to create a safe and comfortable environment.

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    SoftBank BB Corp., SoftBank Telecom Corp. and Ymobile Corporation merged into SoftBank Mobile Corp. on April 1, 2015. SoftBank Mobile Corp. changed its company name to SoftBank Corp. on July 1, 2015.