Despite Increase in Cost, Samsung Replaces Plastic Packaging with Sustainable Stuff

In the latest corporate announcement regarding plastic waste – such announcements have flooded the news since the start of 2019 – Samsung Electronics says it will begin replacing plastic packaging materials with environmentally sustainable materials effective immediately. Packaging currently used for products like mobile phones, tablets and home appliances will be replaced with materials like paper and recycled or bio-based plastics.

A dedicated task force is focusing on design and development, purchasing, marketing and quality control for new packaging ideas.

Specifically:

  • For mobile phone, tablet and wearable products, Samsung will replace the plastic used for holder trays with pulp molds;
  • Bags used for wrapping accessories will be replaced with bags containing recycled materials and bioplastics;
  • Samsung phone chargers have been redesigned, with the glossy exterior being replaced with a matte finish and eliminating plastic protection films;
  • Plastic used to protect the surface of home appliances such as TVs, refrigerators, air conditioners and washing machines as well as other kitchen appliances will be replaced with plastic containing recycled materials or made with bioplastics.

Additionally, only use 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 will be used for paper in packaging and manuals by 2020, Samsung says.

By 2030, Samsung aims to use 500,000 tons of recycled plastics and collect 7.5 million tons of discarded products (both cumulative from 2009).

A statement from Samsung did not say how much it is investing in such initiatives, but the head of Samsung’s Global Customer Satisfaction Center says Samsung is committed to recycling resources and minimizing pollution “even if it means an increase in cost.”

Others in the Plastics Waste War

The issue of plastic waste has increasingly been on the world stage, with companies like McCormick & CompanyKFC, Procter & Gamble, Nestle, Adidas and the NHL joining the fray in recent months.

Last week’s big announcement came from SC Johnson, which joined a partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation focusing on “driving forward market leading circular economy initiatives at scale.” One of the company’s biggest areas of focus is plastic waste.

“Plastic pollution is an enormous problem, and it is going to take businesses, governments, consumers and civil society working together to solve it,” said Fisk Johnson, chairman and CEO of SC Johnson.“We’re all going to have to come together, and Ellen and the Foundation have done an excellent job creating an opportunity for partnership and progress.”

The World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation have estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean, for an economic loss of as much as $120 billion in plastic packaging material value every year.

We are currently accepting submissions for the 2019 Environmental Leader Awards. Learn more and submit a project or product here.

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