Samsung's troubles with their Galaxy Note 7 resulted in one of the largest recalls in the history of the mobile world, with an estimated 4.3 million phones needing to be disposed of, between recalled units and those that never left the factory. Within those phones, literal tons of precious materials like cobalt, silver, tungsten, and gold can be found. While it's an expensive and time-consuming process, these materials can be recovered and reused, rather than ending up in the environment, causing harm. That's exactly what Greenpeace has called on Samsung to do. According to a public statement from Samsung, the South Korean giant is looking into better ways to get rid of the rogue units than simply dumping them or burning them.
Samsung did not mention Greenpeace by name in the statement, but it was issued just a few days after Greenpeace put out the call for Samsung to recycle the Galaxy Note 7 handsets. Samsung stated that they are checking out all of their options, figuring out the best way to deal with the glut of bum phones needing to be done away with. They said that their chosen solution will be compliant with all applicable laws, but did not say exactly how they plan to go about disposing of the phones, or whether they will recover the precious materials used in the construction of the millions of phones for future use.
The recall and disposal of the entire Galaxy Note 7 project's yield poses no small set of issues, with environmental concerns being one of the bigger ones. Samsung is known for being environment-conscious, and has enacted many a green initiative in the past, including fully recyclable cell phones like the Samsung Reclaim. Still, getting rid of some 4.3 million odd phones all at once is a huge undertaking for anybody, and one would be remiss to think that it can be done without some environmental impact. Still, Samsung has cash to spare and a good bit of experience with eco-friendliness, so they may well be able to mitigate the possible environmental harm here to an acceptable level. Doubtlessly, the industry will be watching as Samsung sets the precedent for a recall on such a previously unseen scale.