Samsung is partnering with technology recycling firm Computer Recycling to reuse the gold, silver and other metal components in old smartphones and other discarded devices.
Electronics giant Samsung is partnering with technology recycling firm Computer Recycling to reuse the gold, silver and other metal components in old smartphones and other discarded devices.
Samsung New Zealand has been collecting old smartphones, TVs, fridges, tablets and other electronics, including from Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Tahiti, and bringing them back for recycling at facilities in Auckland.
Simon Smith, Samsung New Zealand head of marketing, said the firm was looking for additional capacity to bolster its recycling capacity over the next two years.
He said Samsung began ramping up its sustainability efforts about three years ago and demand had been growing exponentially.
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By 2050 the company hopes to be able to remove about 70 million tonnes of carbon dioxide it emits and reduce its overall water usage. It also wants to extend its collection of ewaste for recycling in all regions.
During the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Samsung reused the gold and silver from 6 million phones to make 5000 medals for the games winners. The medals were made from discarded mobile phones collected from the Japanese public.
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About 80,000 tons of smartphones and small electronic devices were collected over two-years to save 5 tonnes of precious metals for the medals.
In its recent models of smartphones, the plastic in the devices is made from discarded and recycled fishing nets, while all packaging of its latest mobile phones, starting with its Galaxy Z Flip 4 flip and fold model launched in August, is 100% recyclable.
Samsung says it takes sustainability and its impact on the environment seriously and has recently rolled out eco-packaging for its TVs, and no longer uses stickers or staples, with longer term plans to extend this to its entire product range.
It has also switched to solar cell batteries in the remote control of its new model TVs, that can be charged by the lights in the home as well as the sun. This is estimated to have saved about 200m batteries from landfill, the company claims.
“Samsung signed a climate declaration in 1992, and we have been working on initiatives slowly over the years. However, our efforts have become more prevalent in recent years. There’s been a massive shift in sustainability and making sure we are doing the right thing for both the brand and consumer,” Smith said.
“Consumers want brands to be more socially conscious and Samsung is doing its part to keep that front of mind.”
Samsung has become so big, now selling more than 300 million devices globally each year, that it has become conscious of its impact on the environment, Smith said.
Its sustainability efforts in the past three years alone had been a marked improvement, he said. “We have definitely ramped up all of our sustainability efforts.
“Year-on year we are growing and doing a lot more, and every time we get a new product or direction sustainability is at the heart of it.”
Samsung has partnered with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and the World Health Organisation to enable doctors to use old discarded phones to detect eye diseases in countries such as Vietnam, India, Morocco and Papua New Guinea.