Samsung, the world's largest smartphone maker, announced it would abandon the plastic packaging used to wrap and protect its products. The measure is part of the ongoing campaign of multinational corporations to minimize the plastic waste from their businesses.
As of the first half of 2019, Samsung will start using paper, pulp molds and bio-based recycled plastics, to package all its devices, including tablets, mobile phones, and wearables. For example, the plastic trays used to hold tablets and mobile phones will be made from pulp, reducing the use of plastics. In addition to that, the company would also re-design the phone charger to replace the glossy exterior with a matte finish and give up plastic protection films.
By 2030, Samsung is planning to use 500,000 tons of recycled plastics and gather 7.5 million tons of discarded goods. Samsung sold 291 million smartphones last year, the market research firm IDC estimated. Next, to that, it also sold millions of other home appliances such as washing machines, refrigerators, TVs, air conditioners, and more. As of this year, packaging made of recycled or non-fuel materials such as sugar cane or starch, or bioplastics, will replace the traditional plastic packaging the company used so far to protect and transport its appliances. The company appointed a dedicated internal task force to research alternative forms of environmentally sustainable packaging materials.
According to the latest in-house sustainability report, Samsung consumed nearly 590,000 tons of plastic in 2017. It turned out that the recycled plastics accounted for just 6 percent of the company's total plastic consumption.
Samsung also committed to using only fiber materials, approved by global environmental organizations such as the Forest Stewardship Council, Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Scheme and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative for packaging and user manuals by 2020. The company confirmed it was determined to reduce its plastic emissions despite the associated higher costs. Although Samsung has been working hard to ditch plastics, the company spokesperson confirmed it was a gradual, time-consuming process and there was no strict final deadline to phase out plastics completely.
The Korean tech giant joined the recent wave among leading brands to tackle the plastic waste issue. Earlier last week, numerous consumer brands, among which UPS, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever launched a joint initiative called Loop to experiment with reusable containers. Moreover, Nestlé confirmed it would abandon plastic straws as of February this year, and it was also working on a biodegradable water bottle.
Next time you buy a home appliance, would you switch to Samsung because of its environmentally-friendly policy?