e-waste of epic proportions is a global problem

E-waste is becoming a huge problem for the entire world. As people swap out smartphones for the newest model every year, toss out old laptops, and upgrade their televisions, the problem will only keep growing. In response, big tech companies are stepping up to help combat the issue.

Google has announced that it will now use recycled material in all of its hardware products by 2022. This comes amid similar announcements from Samsung and Apple earlier in the year. Meanwhile, all shipments of Google products will be carbon neutral by 2020. The eco-friendly moves will help reduce the company’s pollution footprint and endear them to green-minded consumers.

Google’s Going Green

Though it seems like they’ve been around forever, Google-branded products are still relatively new. Devices like Google Home, Chromecast, Pixel smartphones, and even new Pixelbook laptops are here to stay. They offer consumers a great deal of value and are some of the most sought-after devices in the tech world right now.

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With the future of “Made by Google” products relatively certain, the company will now take steps to ensure they are as Earth-friendly as possible. This begins by making 100 percent Google product shipments carbon neutral.

Of course, shipping products will always emit carbon emissions. However, Google will continue to reduce those emissions by choosing greener methods—like cargo ships over airplanes. Carbon neutrality can also be achieved by funding renewable energy projects, tree planting efforts, and bringing social awareness to energy efficiency.

Recycled Materials

Along with offsetting its climate pollution from shipping, Google will help fight e-waste with its new products. This initiative will begin with a new, unnamed product that will launch sometime this year. Some rumors suggest it might be a new Google Home.

Whether that’s the case or not, starting in 2022, all Google devices will include recycled materials.

However, this change won’t be quite as simple as offsetting carbon emissions. In fact, the seemingly basic idea of using a third of a plastic bottle to weave a fabric covering (like the one used on Home and Home Mini devices) instead of traditional polyester caused a nearly two-year setback. It won’t be surprising to see similar delays as Google tries to figure out the best way to integrate recycled materials into new products.

After all, taking the environmentally friendly route isn’t the easy way, it’s the right way. While it is unclear how much recycled material will be used in new devices, Google’s massive commitment is refreshing.

For consumers who don’t want to wait until 2022, Google currently has a device recycling program. It will even provide a shipping label to send in old Google devices from anywhere in the U.S.

While using recycled materials in new devices isn’t going to solve the e-waste problem, huge companies stepping up to combat it is a good sign. The tech world should applaud Google, Samsung, and Apple (among others) for their efforts and continue to encourage more companies to join the fight.

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