Samsung to use sustainable materials in packaging
Photo: Samsung

Electronics giant, Samsung, recently announced a major effort to reduce its environmental footprint beginning in 2019. The company is planning to phase out the use of plastics in product development and packaging in exchange for recycled materials. Over the next ten years, Samsung’s goal is to collect 7.5 tons of discarded plastics and use 500 tons of recycled plastics.

The news is exciting advocacy groups that have been pushing Samsung to reduce its resource consumption, hazardous chemical use, and greenhouse gas production. In a 2017 report, Greenpeace found that Samsung was well behind other organizations, including Dell and HP, in implementing green practices. With the recent announcement, the Korean company has publicly committed to addressing the environmental impact of its operations in a significant way.

Major Changes Across a Number of Areas

Samsung’s sustainable packaging pledge impacts a number of the company’s product lines. The organization will begin using eco-friendly materials and molded pulps instead of plastic packages for its electronics devices, including phones and tablets. Additionally, Samsung manuals will be created from paper certified by global environmental organizations.

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Samsung’s phone chargers will also undergo a design change that involves matte finishes replacing glossy, plastic exteriors. Outside of portable device packaging, Samsung plans to swap out the plastic bags it uses to protect appliances, such as washing machines, TVs, and refrigerators, for bioplastics and recycled materials derived from non-fossil fuel sources.

The motivation driving this recent commitment stems from an enterprise vision to minimize the company’s plastic pollution. Samsung’s Global Customer Satisfaction Center lead, Gyeong-bin Jeon, says his organization aims to “adopt more environmentally sustainable materials even if it means an increase in cost.” To ensure Samsung stays its course, a special internal task force has been created to keep the organization on track to achieving its sustainability goals.

Global Effort to Reduce Environmental Impact

Samsung’s effort to be more conscious of its environmental footprint mirrors a global trend that is impacting many industries. Across the board, organizations are taking tangible steps to use clean, sustainable energy and technologies that will lead to a healthier future.

For years, the auto industry has been moving in this direction. Manufacturers continue to invest in electric vehicle technology and fuel-efficient cars in order to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Recently, Chinese megacity, Shenzhen, announced that 99 percent of the city’s 21,000 taxis are now powered by electric batteries.

On the tech front, Facebook announced last September that its newest data center in Asia will be powered 100 percent by renewable energy. Both Apple and Google have already gone down this path and now rely completely on renewable energy. Looking to the future, expect more and more global enterprises, like Samsung, to follow suit and take up sustainable practices that will protect the environment over the long term.

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