Mobile phone manufacturer Samsung has launched a new green initiative.
Their “Galaxy for the Planet” scheme is part of a five-year plan designed to eliminate the use of plastics in packaging, and stop manufacturing waste going to landfill sites.
Instead, their new range of smartphones will include recycled materials such as used water bottles and repurposed fishing nets.
Discarded water bottles and old CD cases will be used in phone components whilst the nylon fishing nets will be converted into polyamide resin pellets. These are used in the production of brackets which hold the volume and power keys typically found on the side of phones in place.
Critics, though, argue that the scheme is just scratching the surface of the problem, and few consumers, even those who are otherwise environmentally aware, realise how damaging it is for the planet to renew their smartphone hardware on a regular basis.
They also point out that the most important thing that phone manufacturers can do to boost their green credentials is to make longer lasting devices, and the incorporation of recycled materials into their products is just one piece in a much larger jigsaw.
There is also an element of self-interest for manufacturers who choose to put sustainability at the heart of their business strategy in future.
Whilst once people cared little about how their devices were made, as long it enabled them to do what they wanted online, including playing games and betting on minimum deposit casinos in Canada that is no longer the case, especially among younger consumers.
They are much more aware of the threat posed to their futures – and that of their children – by the effects of climate change than their parents or grandparents before then, and believe that coordinated national pledges at events like COP 20, which was held in Glasgow last year, do not go far enough.
In future, they will not only expect but demand that any company from whom they buy products or services will have a commitment to sustainability. Nor will they just take the manufacturer’s or service provider’s word for it either. Any promises or commitments made will be carefully checked and verified, and, if it is found that just lip service is being paid to the green agenda, corporate reputations can expect to be savaged on social media.
Worse, they and their money will simply walk, causing immense damage to bottom lines.
Typically, the manufacture of every mobile phone comes at a huge environmental cost.
That is because, in the first place, it requires the extraction of raw materials of irreplaceable elements like cobalt, lithium and gold, involving processes that are heavy pollutants to the atmosphere.
To compound the problem, the average user updates their phone every two years, without recycling their device, generating toxic waste which is not bio-degradable. In addition, smartphones generate more greenhouse gases than any other consumer electronic device.
And, given that an estimated 3.5 billion people use smartphones – almost half of the world’s population – and the number is growing every day, the problem is escalating.