Last month, Samsung permanently halted the production and sales of its Galaxy Note 7 devices. The company is now under scrutiny by the environmental advocacy group Greenpeace for its future device disposal plans.
Samsung says more than 3 million Galaxy Note 7 devices were sold, and Greenpeace reports an additional 1.3 million devices were produced. A report issued Tuesday by Greenpeace and a German research institute indicates 4.3 million Galaxy Note 7 devices would yield 20 metric tons of cobalt, one metric ton of tungsten, more than 1,000 kilograms of silver and 100 kilograms of gold.
Samsung’s 2016 sustainability report showcases their commitment to design for disassembly, waste collection and recycling. In the report, Samsung indicates there are multiple waste collection and active recycling programs available worldwide. Through these efforts, Samsung collected more than 355,000 tons of waste globally in 2015, and reutilized 69,010 tons in Korea alone. These numbers are encouraging and indicate Samsung will reutilize Galaxy Note 7 materials.
Each year, millions of mobile devices are collected for disposal. Certification programs, such as R2, work to ensure certified e-recyclers properly process and dispose of devices in sustainable manner.. Facilities such as HOBI International, Inc. process millions of old and unrecyclable devices each year through precious metal recovery processes and manual disassembly to sort materials by type. This process ensures no phone processed by an R2-certified facility sees the inside of a landfill and is recycled for future manufacturing.