Climate change is now a very big worry in our world. Governments, environmental groups, and individuals are constantly looking for ways to pass on the message of climate change and find ways whereby we can protect our environment and consequently slow down climate change.
Mobile phone giant, Samsung, recently issued a worldwide recall of its flagship Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone after reports of the phone exploding on its owners surfaced. After that worldwide recall is over, Samsung will have on its hands 4.2 million phones that it will have to dispose of.
Those 4.2 million phones will be enough to fill 28 massive shipping containers and that is quite a lot of waste. Disposing of the devices correctly will present a massive waste problem that Samsung has to solve judiciously.
Environmental groups are a little worried about how Samsung will go about doing just that, but some also see the waste disposal problem as a chance for Samsung to set an example for the world on how to deal with the billions of smartphones on the market.
Samsung has had to dispose of a bulk of phones in the past. As far back as 1995, the company had 150,000 phones from a defective Anycall line to dispose of and its plan for getting rid of them had involved setting the 150,000 phones on fire; a terrible plan for the environment.
Samsung is yet to reveal its plans to deal with the Note 7 phones beyond an assurance that none of the recalled devices will be repaired, refurbished, or resold. The company told Vice Media’s Motherboard; “We have a process in place to safely dispose of the phones,” but did not provide any further details.
To understand the threat that Samsung’s disposal plan presents to our environment, it would be helpful to note that the recalled Galaxy Note 7 smartphones contain more than 20 metric tons of cobalt, more than one ton of tungsten, one ton of silver, 100 kilograms of gold, and between 20 and 60 kilograms of palladium; according to an analysis by researchers at the German sustainability research firm Oeko-Institut.
Even more waste was produced in the production stage while refining hundreds of millions of tons of raw ore, using toxic chemicals such as mercury and arsenic, to get those materials.
One environmental group, Greenpeace, said in a statement that “Samsung now has an opportunity to set an example to the industry,” and that the company needs to “totally rethink how it designs and produces its products.”
Considering Samsung is in a determined fight for its reputation, the company will most likely be careful about the environmental impact of this disposal and hopefully, the shake up the environmental groups are looking for in the smartphone market will indeed occur.