In support of environmental conservation, Korean technology giant Samsung will be replacing plastic packaging materials for its products, presently deemed ‘non-recyclable’, with paper and other environmentally sustainable materials. The company has also increased the usage of non-conventional energy sources by going solar at its R&D centre in Bengaluru.
From the first half of 2019, the packaging used currently for Samsung’s products and accessories—ranging from mobile phones and tablets to home appliances—will be substituted with environmentally sustainable materials like recycled/bio-based plastics and paper. To revamp product packaging, Samsung Electronics has formed a taskforce involving design and development, purchasing, marketing and quality control for innovative packaging ideas.
“Samsung Electronics is stepping up in addressing society’s environmental issues such as resource depletion and plastic wastes,” said Gyeong-bin Jeon, head of Samsung’s Global Customer Satisfaction Centre. “We are committed to recycling resources and minimising pollution coming from our products. We will adopt more environmentally sustainable materials even if it means an increase in cost.”
For mobile phone, tablet and wearable products, Samsung will replace the plastic used for holder trays with pulp molds, and bags wrapping accessories with eco-friendly materials. Samsung 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. The 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 bio-plastics, which are respectively made from plastic wastes and non-fossil fuel materials such as starch or sugar cane.
Regarding paper, Samsung will only use fibre materials certified by global environmental organisations like the Forest Stewardship Council, Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Scheme and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative for packaging and manuals by 2020. Under the company’s circular economy policy, Samsung Electronics has set a mid-term implementation plan to only use paper packaging materials certified by forestry initiatives by next year. By 2030, Samsung aims to use 500,000 tonne of recycled plastics and collect 7.5 million tonne of discarded products (both cumulative from 2009).
Earlier this year, Samsung’s largest R&D centre outside Korea, switched to solar power for its campus in Bengaluru which houses over 3,000 R&D employees. Initiated in March 2016 as part of its ‘Go Green Initiative’ to increase usage of green energy sources, the company now draws 88% of its power requirement from a solar farm in Kalburgi district in Karnataka, around 500 km away from Bengaluru, thus cutting down reliance on the traditional power grid, making that energy available for other uses.
Samsung R&D Institute – Bangalore (SRI-B) has drawn 8 lakh units of solar power since December 2018 that replaces energy derived from traditional sources such as coal. The solar farm generates/adds the required power to the state electricity grid and SRI-B through ‘energy wheeling’ receives an equal amount of power from the local electricity grid. This process/method helps in curbing transmission and distribution losses. “The resolution to Go Green has not only become a part of our company’s corporate social responsibility, but a mission to reduce the global carbon footprint by embedding initiatives within the organisation that supports the same. There are many other environmental
oncerns and we seek to implement more innovative methods of promoting an eco-friendly environment for future
generations,” said Dipesh Shah, managing director, SRI-B.