SAMSUNG HAS GIVEN IN to pressure from pressure from activists and has committed to recycling Galaxy Note 7 handsets in an environmentally-friendly manner.
As if the whole Note 7 recall wasn't bad enough for Samsung, the firm has been facing mounting pressure from activists about how it planned to handle the 4.3 million fire-prone handsets that had been returned to it.
Greenpeace has been holding protests globally for the past five months, and last month turned up at Samsung's MWC press conference in Barcelona demanding that the company reuse, recycle and rethink the way the phones are produced, and probably hoping to catch a glimpse of the Galaxy S8.
Samsung on Monday finally responded, and said it "has established three principles to ensure that Galaxy Note 7 devices are recycled and processed in an environmentally-friendly manner."
Firstly, Samsung says it will consider refurbishing recalled phones (as expected) to then sell on or use as rental phones, presumably when someone's handset has caught fire and they need a temporary replacement.
Samsung hasn't yet confirmed who will be able to get their hands on a refurbed Note 7, saying: "Applicability is dependent upon consultations with regulatory authorities and carriers as well as due consideration of local demand. The markets and release dates will be determined accordingly."
The firm has also announced that it will "detach salvageable components, such as semiconductors and camera modules, for reuse or sale", and will extract metals using extract metals using "environmentally friendly methods."
Samsung has also announced that it will be joining EU's R&D and test efforts to develop new eco-friendly processing methods.
Greennpeace, which notes that waste from mobile phones and personal computers is predicted to rise globally to 50 million metric tonnes in 2017, is taking Samsung's move as a big win.
Jude Lee, global senior campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia, said: "People around the world signed petitions, emailed Samsung's CEO, demonstrated in cities around the world, and finally Samsung has listened. This is a major win for everyone that took action, and a step towards shifting the way we produce and dispose of electronics."
"While we welcome this news, Samsung must share as soon as possible more detailed timelines on when it will implement its promises, as well as how it intends to change its production system to make sure this never happens again.
"The average smartphone in the US is used for about two years, adding to growing piles of e-waste around the world. This is simply not sustainable. Samsung and other IT companies such as Apple should manufacture phone." µ
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