Smartphone manufacturers are increasing their efforts to support sustainability and offset the negative impacts caused by the use and production of smartphones around the world. The two largest smartphone manufacturers include Apple and Samsung, which have taken sustainability and e-waste management seriously in recent years. While Apple has achieved partially carbon-neutral operations, Samsung also has big plans to go completely plastic-free in the next two decades, a top Samsung India executive told ABP Live.
“The current technology offering around the recycled materials used in our devices is directly proportional to the awareness of it. And as I said, this is the starting point and I hope that awareness will increase, which will help us to develop more technology. And with that, we will be able to use more and more plastics in the coming future: by 2030 we want to use 50 percent of the devices with recycled plastics and by 2050 all the plastic that we use in the devices will be recycled plastic,” said Pranveer Singh Rathore, Materials R&D Manager, Samsung Electronics, speaking to ABP Live during a roundtable on Galaxy Sustainability.
A look at the research and development behind the production of sustainable smartphones
Research and development plays a key role in creating sustainable devices, and their role starts with the creation of a smartphone. Also the durability of the phone comes from the design part.
“So when we design the devices, we need to design them to accommodate more recycled materials that can last longer. So that the phone you use reflects the amount of carbon that went into making it This phone gets used longer. The longer you use your phones, the more sustainable it is,” Rathore explained.
“The next part comes with using and managing waste resources like fishing nets, plastic bottles as you said and other waste resources that can be managed. We want to prevent them from entering our oceans and also our landfills. When they end up in an incinerator, they are incinerated, releasing a lot of carbon. So the goal is to prevent them, and that’s where recycled materials come into play, that’s where our team comes in,” Rathore added.
Sustainable devices affect performance?
Samsung understands that making sustainable smartphones shouldn’t compromise performance and quality, so Samsung optimizes the recycled materials that go into smartphones. “Any device that needs to be a sustainable device, a sustainable technology, needs to be at the same level of performance as current devices. And although we use recycled materials, we cannot compromise on quality just because using recycled material is a challenge, and we are optimizing the percentage of recycled materials used in devices,” said Samsung Electronics’ top executive.
Does Samsung want to increasingly reuse plastic bottles from the oceans in its products in the future?
According to the United Nations, we have more plastic in the ocean than fish. When asked if Samsung was considering reusing plastic bottles in its future products, Rathore replied: “We’re working on it, but I can’t reveal much about it. You will be hearing from us about this very soon.”
Samsung has created a so-called “Circular Economy Lab” to research material recycling technologies and resource extraction processes. By 2030, the South Korean tech giant aims to establish a system where minerals extracted from all waste batteries it collects can be reused in its devices.
Samsung has also set a goal of containing 50 percent of the plastic used in its products from recycled resin by 2030. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, which launched in August, was designed to incorporate plastics recycled from discarded fishing nets and other marine debris, and it would soon expand to other products.