Samsung Electronics has started off the new decade by winning three prizes that reflect the company’s commitment to pursuing sustainable recycling, upcycling and waste management practices.
At the 2019 Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Electronics Challenge awards ceremony, hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Samsung was one of nine companies to receive a Gold Tier award and one of two companies named the SMM Electronics Challenge Champion Award winners. In addition, Samsung was recognized as CES Innovation Award Honoree in the category of Sustainability, Eco-Design & Smart Energy for the Samsung Serif Eco-Package.
A Winning Commitment to a Circular Economy
The SMM Electronics Challenge, hosted since 2014, is the EPA’s annual awards ceremony recognizing participants for their commitment to sustainable materials management and the responsible recycling, honoring those companies who, in the US, voluntarily engage in recycling programs. Honors are awarded in two categories, the Champion Award for products, non-products and new technologies that are harnessed in environmentally conscious ways, and the Tier Award for recycling activities. This year, Samsung won awards in both categories, and on January 8, several leading Samsung figures attended the SMM Electronics Challenge awards ceremony in Las Vegas.
In the Champion Award category, Samsung received its third Cutting-Edge Award since the award’s creation in 2016, which recognizes participants for pioneering ideas in electronics sustainability. The company was recognized for the Galaxy Upcycling project, a project dedicated to reusing end-of-life mobile phones for both environmental protection and societal gain.
The award-winning Galaxy Upcycling project transforms obsolete mobile phones no longer in use into internet-of-things (IoT) devices with the power to benefit underserved communities; since 2017, the project has, in partnership with Korean medical researchers, harnessed recycled smartphone devices for the development of portable eye examination equipment. In 2017, the project won the SMM Cutting-Edge Award for the first time, and last year supplied 90 portable ophthalmoscopes for use in Vietnam, benefitting the lives and vision of around 14,000 residents.
In the Tier Award category, Samsung has, for the sixth year in a row, been awarded Gold, an honor bestowed upon only those companies that send at least 96% of all used electronics to certified third-party recyclers. Samsung was recognized for collecting and recycling 60,000 tons of waste electronics in 2018, along with once again only making contracts with only those vendors certified by e-Stewards, a third-party certification management program for electronics recyclers. Furthermore, the company actively participates in eCycling, a voluntary e-waste collection program for companies organized by the CTA (Consumer Technology Association).
At this year’s CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, Samsung received a wide range of honors at the CES Innovation Awards, with products and services from display technologies to mobile devices awarded for standing out in the industry as leading, innovative solutions. Among these, Samsung’s The Serif Eco-Packaging design has been recognized for promoting the efficient use of resources.
The Eco-Packaging design allows consumers to upcycle the packaging of a product into small, versatile pieces of furniture. Once they have assembled their devices, consumers can repurpose the thick corrugated cardboard packaging into small tables or shelves, guided by manuals available by scanning a QR code on the box. This packaging is to be rolled out with Samsung’s TV line The Serif within the first half of 2020.
Also, ahead of this year’s CES, Samsung on January 4 hosted an e-waste collection event where attendees could dispose of their obsolete electronics, free of charge. Samsung has been hosting this e-waste recycling event annually with ERI and CTA since 2017.