Samsung Electronics cutting virgin plastics in packaging

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Photo by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. Samsung Electronics will replace plastic trays in package with pulp molds and move to recycled or bio-based content plastic in other elements of packaging.

A global electronics powerhouse will stop using virgin plastic packaging, but is not abandoning the material completely.

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. said virgin plastic "will be substituted with environmentally sustainable materials like recycled/bio-based plastics and paper."

Replacement efforts begin during the first half of this year.

"Samsung Electronics is stepping up in addressing society's environmental issues such as resource depletion and plastic wastes," said Gyeong-bin Jeon, leader of the Samsung Global Customer Satisfaction Center, in a statement.

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

The packaging changes will span the company's range of products, including mobile phones, tablets and appliances.

Plastic trays used to hold products such as phones and tablets will be replaced with pulp moulds. And the company will switch to "eco-friendly materials" for its bags.

Phone chargers will switch from glossy to matte finish, a move that will eliminate the need for plastic protection films during shipment.

Plastic bags used for shipping appliances including televisions, refrigerators, air conditioners and washing machines, will use recycled resin or bioplastics, the South Korea-based company said.

Paper-based packaging will only use fiber certified by global environmental organisations, Samsung said.

Samsung has a goal of using 500,000 tonnes of recycled plastics by 2030, and collect 7.5 million tonnes of discarded products by the same date. Both figures are cumulative from a 2009 starting date.

Samsung's latest news about plastics use is confined to its packaging and not the materials in their actual products.

The company, in its latest sustainability report, indicates use of about 35,300 tons of post-consumer recycled plastics to make new products in 2017. That represented about 6.1% of the Samsung's total plastics consumption for products that year.

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