Phones from ocean plastic? Samsung aims for 2025

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What if your future Galaxy phone was made of reclaimed ocean plastic? That’s one possible future Samsung has in mind. The consumer electronics titan became the most recent Big Tech company to embrace a stronger pro-planet pledge, announcing on Wednesday at its Samsung Unpacked launch event that it will eliminate all single-use plastic from its smartphone packaging by 2025. 

Samsung’s new sustainability platform, called Galaxy for the Planet, will focus on slashing waste from the production to the disposal of its Galaxy line of phones, tablets, watches and earbuds. The news comes the same week as a UN climate panel policy report urged policymakers to reduce emissions to slow down rapidly progressing climate change. 

Along with dropping plastic packaging, Samsung plans to use recycled material in all new its mobile products by 2025, from phones to earbuds. This is where ocean plastic comes in, one possible material Samsung plans to experiment with to make future phones, Sophia Kim, Samsung’s vice president of public relations of the mobile communications business, told CNET. 

“These are tangible and ethical action items for us,” Kim said. “We can help our Galaxy user use more eco-friendly options and choices in their daily life.” 

Another goalpost is to divert all waste from landfills, and to reach zero standby power consumption of all smartphone chargers to increase energy efficiency by 2025 as well. While the standby power consumption across its smartphone chargers is currently 20 milliwatts, Samsung wants to reduce that to below 5 milliwatts by 2025. That means your charger would be using less power when it’s plugged in but not in use.

Samsung has been seeking greener products for several years, Kim said. For example, the Galaxy smartphone charger and the Galaxy Buds ProGalaxy Buds Live and new Galaxy Buds 2 are all made of 20% recycled materials. 

The company has also made strides towards more eco-conscious materials in packaging: Compared to the 2016 Galaxy S7, this year’s Galaxy S21’s packaging generates 51% less waste. Right now the only plastic in the Galaxy phone packaging is the protective cover on the device, but Samsung is working on more eco-friendly materials for this, too. 

These concrete goals toward sustainability from Samsung could push the rest of the phone manufacturing industry to take similar steps — though many are working on similar initiatives as well. 

Apple has set a goal of being carbon neutral by 2030, which would mean every Apple device sold would have net zero climate impact by that point. It also created environmental report cards for its devices back in 2008, and since then, has slimmed its device packaging, reduced reliance on plastic in its devices, and started integrating recycled materials into its devices.

Microsoft has also pledged to become carbon negative by 2030, and is seeking to undo the greenhouse gas emissions it’s sent into the Earth’s atmosphere over the lifetime of the company by 2050. (Apple and Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)….”

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