Samsung Electronics has announced it is to begin replacing plastic packaging materials with “environmentally sustainable elements”.
The South Korean technology giant, which is the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer, said it would start to substitute plastic for recycled and “bio-based” plastics and paper during the first half of this year.
The company said the trays used for its mobile phone, tablet and wearable products would be replaced with pulp moulds, and the bags used to wrap accessories with eco-friendly materials.
It said the design of its phone chargers will also change, swapping the gloss finish for a matte one and removing the plastic protective films placed onto them, to reduce plastics use.
“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 larger home appliances, Samsung said the plastic bags used to protect the surface of TVs, refrigerators and washing machines will be replaced with bags containing recycled materials and bioplastics, which it says will be made from plastic wastes and non-fossil fuel materials such as starch and sugar cane.
The company has been the subject of protests from environmental groups in the past — a Greenpeace protester stepped onstage at a Samsung press conference in 2017 — and a report from the organisation in the same year said it was “lagging behind” in aspects of environmental policy.
Last year, Samsung also announced it would aim to use 100% renewable energy to power its operations in Europe, the US and China by 2020.
Gyeong-bin Jeon, head of Samsung’s global customer satisfaction centre, said: “Samsung Electronics is stepping up in addressing society’s environmental issues such as resource depletion and plastic wastes.
As a further part of its pledge, Samsung said it aims to use 500 000 tons of recycled plastics and collect 7.5 million tons of discarded products by 2030.