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Samsung is ditching plastic packaging for ‘tolerable materials’

Your next Samsung phone could come in recycled and bio-based paper and plastic wrapping.

Samsung Electronics  said Sunday it will replace plastic packaging used for its bevy of products from mobile phones and tablets to home appliances and wearables with paper and other environmentally sustainable materials like recycled/bio-based plastics.

Samsung will start making the switch in the first half of the year. The company aims to only use paper packaging materials certified by forestry initiatives by next year. By 2030, Samsung says it plans to use 500,000 tons of recycled plastics and collect 7.5 million tons of discarded products (both cumulative from 2009).

The company said it’s formed an internal task force to come up with innovative packaging ideas that avoid plastic.

For instance, the plastic trays used to hold mobile phones and tablets will be replaced with ones made from pulp. Samsung said it will also alter the phone charger design, swapping the glossy exterior with a matte finish and eliminating plastic protection films, reducing the use of plastics.

Now, instead of plastic, pulp molds will form holder trays. Accessories will be wrapped in eco-friendly materials. Samsung phone chargers will even change from a glossy finish to matte so that the company doesn’t need to use a plastic protection film. The little things add up.

Plastic bags used to protect the surface of home appliances such as TVs, refrigerators, air conditioners and washing machines as well as other kitchen appliances will also be replaced with bags containing recycled materials and bioplastics. Bioplastics are made from plastic wastes and non-fossil fuel materials like starch or sugar cane.

The company also committed to only using fiber materials certified by global environmental organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council, Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Scheme and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative for packaging and manuals by 2020.

Apple also has taken a hard look at its packaging waste. In 2017, the iPhone maker laid out plans for its paper and plastic sourcing. It started re-examining its packaging materials in 2015. Even back in 2012, its iPod packaging was biodegradable, so Apple’s been thinking for years about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — essentially a growing island of plastic waste in the Pacific.

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