Samsung Electronics will scrap non-recyclable plastic in its packaging this year

  • Samsung Electronics announced on Monday that it will begin removing non-recyclable plastic from its packaging in 2019.
  • It is aiming to have used 500 thousand tons of recycled plastics within the next decade.
  • The company said it is dedicated to reducing its emissions even if it means increased costs.
An employee hands a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge smartphone to a customer at the company's flagship store in Seoul, South Korea.
Seong Joon Cho | Bloomberg | Getty Images
An employee hands a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge smartphone to a customer at the company's flagship store in Seoul, South Korea.

Samsung Electronics will begin replacing plastic packaging materials with sustainable alternatives this year, the company announced on Monday.

In the first half of 2019, packaging currently used for Samsung's products and accessories – from mobile phones to home appliances – will be substituted with recycled or bio-based plastics and paper.

Samsung also said it would alter the design of its mobile phone chargers, eliminating plastic protection films by swapping their glossy exteriors for a matte finish.

"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 Center. "We will adopt more environmentally sustainable materials even if it means an increase in cost."

Plastic bags used to protect the surfaces of home appliances such as TVs and washing machines will also be replaced with bags containing recycled materials and bioplastics – which are made from non-fossil fuel materials such as starch and sugar cane.

By 2020, only paper made of materials certified by global environmental organizations – such as the Forest Stewardship Council – will be used for Samsung's packaging and manuals.

Under Samsung Electronics' wider circular economy policy, the company has set itself a target of using 500 thousand tons of recycled plastics and collecting 7.5 million tons of discarded products by 2030.

The firm has established a task force to oversee the design, purchasing, marketing and quality control for its new packaging.

Last year, more than 40 businesses – including P&G, Coca-Cola and Unilever – made a pledge to cut plastic pollution by taking steps such as removing unnecessary single-use packaging and ensuring that 70 percent of plastic packaging is effectively recycled.

Earlier this month, Nestle announced it would start scrapping plastic straws from February and had begun to work on biodegradable water bottles.

Starbucks has also laid out plans to get rid of single use plastic straws from all of its stores by 2020.