Electrical Waste

Samsung to recycle and reuse over 4 million defunct handsets

After announcing that it was to permanently discontinue its Note 7 handsets after battery defects caused them to overheat and explode, Samsung has stated that it is to source an eco-friendly solution to its returned 4.3 million handsets.

Recalled worldwide in October 2016, Samsung addressed concerns that the phones would end up in landfill sites by executing a three-pronged plan to reduce waste and reuse components that weren’t compromised by the Note 7’s faults. The three prongs are:

  • Devices shall be considered to be used as refurbished phones or rental phones where applicable
  • Salvageable components shall be detached for reuse
  • Processes such as metals extraction shall be performed using environmentally friendly methods

Unlike Apple, which uses specialised robots named Liam to deconstruct their phones, Samsung will be using specialised companies with the parts likely to be sold to the highest bidder or reused in future phones.

Greenpeace has also been campaigning to know what the company will do with the devices after interrupting the company’s Mobile World Congress Keynote last month.

Reacting to the news Greenpeace wrote in a blog post:

After five months of people powered actions around the world, Samsung pulled its head out of the sand and committed to recycling the millions of Galaxy Note 7 phones it recalled! This is a HUGE win for the hundreds of thousands of people who took action.

“Here’s what Samsung’s committed to do in a nutshell: Samsung will refurbish non-problematic components of the Galaxy Note 7, such as the camera and alarms, so they can be used and resold in future phones. For components that can’t be repurposed, the company will extract and recycle the raw materials in an environmentally-sound way.

“Samsung also announced it will participate in new research led by the European Union aimed at developing a new environmentally friendly technology to recycle smartphones. Let’s see where this goes, but for now, it’s good news!”

Andy has worked as a freelance journalist for a number of years and has been published in some of the UK’s top newspapers. He is now the editor Commercial Waste Magazine and contributes to a large selection of headlines and blog articles on the site.

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