Samsung's planned disposal of millions of recalled Galaxy Note 7 units has been a subject of contention since the device's recall, and members of Greenpeace decided to make that abundantly clear in front of the billions of people worldwide tracking the events of this year's Mobile World Congress by not only head to Barcelona with their signs, but by standing off to the side of the stage with those signs as Samsung gave their presentation. David Lowes, Samsung's Chief Marketing Officer for Europe, was on stage when it happened, giving his opening statement for the event. Rather than react in a way that may reflect badly on the company or ignore the protestor altogether, Lowes turned to the protestor and said, "You've made your point.", before continuing with the presentation.
This spectacle comes on the heels of Samsung refuting previous rumors that they planned on refurbishing recalled Galaxy Note 7 units for safety, then reselling them. The plan would have saved some 2.5 million devices from having to be disposed of in some way. Greenpeace saw the writing on the wall, and Samsung responded, for their part, that they would be disposing of the devices in a way that was compliant with applicable local laws, but those laws did not demand that the devices be reduced to their component parts in order to promote reusing them, leaving Samsung essentially free to dump the phones in a landfill, so long as they were safely contained. Samsung did not give any more details than that.
Samsung has yet to commit to recycling the millions of returned Galaxy Note 7 units, which means that they could still do so, or the phones could end up in a landfill, with all their valuable components going to waste. The issue is that the recycling methods needed to strip down and part out such a device are extensive, and quite pricey, especially at such a large scale. There are chemicals and processes involved that would require proper permitting, as well. The entire sordid saga is a headache that Samsung would likely prefer to simply forget about, but Greenpeace, Note fans, and the few Galaxy Note 7 users still clinging to their devices simply won't let them.