Resource Efficiency

Resource Efficiency

Conserve,
use longer,
and reuse

Conserve,
use longer,
and reuse

A close-up view of a person's hands working on the interior parts of a disassembled smartphone with metal tweezers. A close-up view of a person's hands working on the interior parts of a disassembled smartphone with metal tweezers.

Since the Industrial Revolution, economic growth accompanied the reckless excavation and exploitation of natural resources. Experts have warned of the environmental problems from such excavation and future resource depletion. Samsung Electronics is aware of these warnings and implementing a wide range of response measures. In the process of product development and manufacturing, we efficiently use resources by technology innovation and find ways for inevitable waste and end-of-life products to use again. We will keep effort in making better products with fewer resources and to convert e-waste into usable resources.

Resource efficiency KPI

Our goal to achieve a circular economy

To protect an environment in crisis and use resources more efficiently, Samsung Electronics is engaged in efforts to focus on a circular economy. Going beyond the conventional practice of using resources once and discarding them, Samsung is working to ensure that resources can be reused by recovering, reusing and recycling after the product’s lifespan. By minimizing the type of materials used and optimizing the assembly method, we have developed production methods that minimize the use of resources. By collecting products that have reached the end of their life span we recover valuable materials. Through this circular economy, Samsung is lowering the amount of natural resources required for production, reducing greenhouse gas and pollutants from the incineration of waste, and preventing soil and underground water contamination caused by landfills.
Above all, the best way to conserve resources is by making quality, long-lasting products. By strengthening the durability of our products before release through a series of strict reliability tests and by providing convenient repair services through its global service locations, including continuous software updates, Samsung is expanding the lifespan of our products to further contribute to the circular economy and conserving resources.

Circular economy principles and structure

Circular economy principles

  • 01

    Expanding the purchase
    and use
    of sustainable
    resources at the
    materials
    selection and product
    design stage, while
    minimizing
    the use of
    unnecessary raw
    materials

  • 02

    Working towards
    extending
    the product
    lifespan by
    designing
    products based on
    end
    customers’ needs and
    rigorous quality testing

  • 03

    Minimizing use of raw
    materials
    by creating
    compact product
    designs
    and packaging, and
    by
    maximizing transportation
    efficiency

  • 04

    Reducing the use of virgin
    natural resources and raw
    materials by maximizing
    reuse
    of 4 post-industrial
    materials
    from the
    manufacturing stage

  • 05

    Extending the product
    lifespan and increasing
    customer satisfaction
    through
    5 systematic
    product
    management
    geared by a
    professional
    service network

Circular economy structure

Consumer

Use

  • ‧ Use energy-efficient products to
    reduce indirect GHG emissions
  • ‧ Enhance product performance,
    upgrade firmware, and extend product warranty

Repair and Reuse

  • ‧ Continuously expand service centers worldwide
  • ‧ Extend product lifespan by providing remote and
    expert diagnosis services

Samsung
Electronics

Development

  • ‧ Plan products that consume less energy and resources
  • ‧ Design products that are easy to disassemble and recycle
  • ‧ Life extension design of product
  • ‧ Purchase materials and parts that do not contain
    any hazardous substances
  • ‧ Expand the use of sustainable resources,
    such as recycled materials
  • ‧ Do business with certified “Eco Partners”

Manufacturing

  • ‧ Expand renewable energy use at worksites
  • ‧ Minimize water consumption and increase reuse
  • ‧ Recycle worksite waste into resources
  • ‧ Use chemical alternatives at worksites

Distribution

  • ‧ Use sustainable packaging materials and
    sustainably-sourced paper
  • ‧ Compact and lightweight packaging
  • ‧ Reduce GHG emissions and use of fuel
    by optimizing logistics

Recycling
company

Take-back and recycling

  • ‧ Operate take-back programs in each country
  • ‧ Extract and reuse materials from waste products
  • ‧ Run a closed-loop recycling system
    for waste resources

We breathe new life into end-of-life products

Establishing a circular economy system is an essential and fundamental factor in minimizing waste and using resources efficiently.Therefore, Samsung Electronics globally operates the Re+ Program, e-waste collection program. End-of-life products are collected through our service centers or recycling cooperatives, and the collected e-waste are recycled using an environmentally friendly method and reused as useful resources. We were able to collect a total of 4.03 million tons of waste products between 2009 and 2019.

  • List of institutions for take-back and recycling by country
    92 KB
  • List of institutions for packaging and battery recycling in European countries
    166 KB

Once a resource is used, it is recovered, recycled and reused.

Samsung Electronics is moving away from the previous resource consuming structure, where resources were disposed after a single use, and pursuing various activities that consider closed-loop recycling, which recovers, recycles, and then reuses used resources. As part of our effort to establish a resource recycling social structure, we first analyze the composition of our major products and re-analyze from different angles the impact that each substance has on supply chain safety, the environment, society, and the economy.

The typical composition of
mobile phones consists of

35.1% plastic

20.2% aluminium

10.6% steel

10.0% copper

8.6% cobalt

15.5% gold and
other materials

One of the representative cases of Samsung’s recycling efforts is the Asan Recycling Centre, which is established and operated by Samsung. All major metal and plastic that comes out of the recycling centre are re-used to make electronics. Since it was established in 1998, The Asan Recycling Centre has been recycling waste electronics. In 2019 alone, it has processed 338,000 units of refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners, and IT devices, separating 24,524 tons of major metals (steel, copper, aluminium, etc.) and plastic to be recycled. The plastic from waste electronics, sorted at the Asan Recycling Centre, are supplied to plastic manufacturers who reformulate them for reuse. Using a jointly-developed technology, Asan Recycling Centre has established a closed-loop recycling system that makes it possible to use the renewed plastic in Samsung products. The 1,882 tons of renewed plastic produced through this closed-loop recycling system in 2019 were used in Samsung refrigerators, air conditioners and washing machines. And when you consider the renewed plastic acquired from other channels, approximately 30,753 tons were used in making appliances, TVs, monitors and mobile phone chargers. Copper is separated from major components (wires, compressors, etc.), recycled and used to make other electronics. Another example is cobalt, which is one of the major resources used in mobile phone batteries.

Closed-loop recycling process of waste plastic at Asan Recycling Centre

An illustrative image of the closed-loop recycling process at Asan Recycling Centre. In a clockwise direction: parts production/protrusion, refrigerator, used by consumers and discarded, Asan Recycling Centre, Materials: Plastic, Copper, Aluminum, Steel, and Others, sort plastic by materials, raw material regeneration process. An illustrative image of the closed-loop recycling process at Asan Recycling Centre. In a clockwise direction: parts production/protrusion, refrigerator, used by consumers and discarded, Asan Recycling Centre, Materials: Plastic, Copper, Aluminum, Steel, and Others, sort plastic by materials, raw material regeneration process.

We promote zero waste to landfill and resource recirculation

According to the goal of vitalizing the resource circulation system, Samsung Electronics is working on the development of waste processing technologies and expansion of waste separation in order to ensure that zero waste goes to landfill. In 2019, we increased the level of recycling by recycling copper using the technology for producing crude copper (97% copper) with copper extracted from waste sludge and by separately discarding waste synthetic resin, which used to be incinerated. In recognition of such efforts, the Hwaseong worksite was granted the “Presidential Citation at Leading Companies in Resource recirculation” in September, 2019 by the Korean Ministry of Environment. Furthermore, we are currently working on earning the “Zero Waste to Landfill” certification for worksites in Korea and the efforts will soon be expanded to worksites outside of Korea.

Waste treatment process

An illustrative image of the closed-loop recycling process at Asan Recycling Centre. In a clockwise direction: parts production/protrusion, refrigerator, used by consumers and discarded, Asan Recycling Centre, Materials: Plastic, Copper, Aluminum, Steel, and Others, sort plastic by materials, raw material regeneration process. An illustrative image of the closed-loop recycling process at Asan Recycling Centre. In a clockwise direction: parts production/protrusion, refrigerator, used by consumers and discarded, Asan Recycling Centre, Materials: Plastic, Copper, Aluminum, Steel, and Others, sort plastic by materials, raw material regeneration process.

We are replacing single use-plastic packaging with environmentally conscious materials

Since establishing environmentally conscious packaging materials policy in 2018, Samsung Electronics has replaced single-use plastic packaging materials with environmentally conscious materials such as paper and bioplastic materials and plans to replace 100% of the paper used in our packages and manuals with the paper that obtained the sustainable forest certification by 2020. Furthermore, for our lifestyle TV products, “The Frame,” “The Serif,” and “The Sero,” we introduced “eco-package” by applying the concept of upcycling in the packaging materials. Corrugated cardboard is usually used in TV packaging to protect the product. Samsung Electronics completely reinterpreted the value of packaging materials by developing corrugated cardboard with a dot matrix design. As a result, customers can easily break them down and reassemble them for other uses with the help of a manual demonstrating how to create various things such as pet items and small furniture.

Applications of environmentally conscious packaging materials

An illustrative image of the closed-loop recycling process at Asan Recycling Centre. In a clockwise direction: parts production/protrusion, refrigerator, used by consumers and discarded, Asan Recycling Centre, Materials: Plastic, Copper, Aluminum, Steel, and Others, sort plastic by materials, raw material regeneration process. An illustrative image of the closed-loop recycling process at Asan Recycling Centre. In a clockwise direction: parts production/protrusion, refrigerator, used by consumers and discarded, Asan Recycling Centre, Materials: Plastic, Copper, Aluminum, Steel, and Others, sort plastic by materials, raw material regeneration process.

Product life extension

Extended product lifespan through customer services and improved durability.

Reduce, reuse, recycle: How we conserve precious water resources

Water resource management is an integral part of protecting the environment surrounding our worksites and at the same time, an essential part of the product production process. We focus on the 3Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – in managing water resources. We seek to maximize wastewater reuse rates through everyday reduction efforts, such as optimizing our worksites, replacing old valves and improving operation standards. We also pursue structural improvements, such as improving our manufacturing processes and establishing recycling systems. We also use CDP's Water Guidance to subdivide the water risks at our worksites located in water-stressed regions and respond with risk-specific strategies.

Large water pipes inside a large manufacturing facility. Large water pipes inside a large manufacturing facility.

Our water resource policies

Our Philosophy

We recognize the importance of water in sustainable, social, and corporate management and seek to fulfill our responsibility
as a global corporate citizen to protect water resources.

Action Guidelines

  • Strive to minimize water resource risks in business management

    Evaluate the impact of our business activities, such as production on water resources, to strive to minimize risks while continuing to explore and introduce new technologies

  • Recognize the importance of water resources as part of our corporate culture

    Establish the preservation and sustainability of water resources as part of our corporate culture; help employees understand their responsibility for water resource management and consider the impact of our operations on local communities and environment as a top priority

  • Actively cooperate in complying with public water resources policies on the protection of water resources.

    Based on guidelines on water resources, actively cooperate with local and central governments as well as international organizations, to establish and execute policies aimed at protecting and conserving water resources

  • Disclose our water resource policies and activities

    Ensure clear and transparent disclosure of corporate policies and activities regarding the use of water resources to our stakeholders, including local communities

Water risk assessment and strategy by region

Physical
risk

  • South Korea

      Floods

    • Build wetlands and dikes to protect worksites from flooding of nearby rivers
    • Build wetlands and dikes to protect worksites from flooding of nearby rivers
  • India

      Degradation of water quality

    • Increase frequency of on-site water quality analysis and improve the efficiency of water treatment facilities
  • Poland

      Floods

    • Establish an emergency response system and conduct regular drills in preparation for wastewater leaks caused by river-flooding around the worksites
  • Egypt

      Drought

    • Install water storage tanks capable of operating production facilities for an average of one day
  • All regions

      Degradation of water quality

    • Secure water quality through the pre-intake water treatment process

      Water outages

    • Install dual water intake facilities and water collection facilities to prevent production delays

Regulatory
risk

  • South Africa

      Discharge

    • Treat sewage and wastewater from worksites in the terminal treatment facility within the industrial complex (no in-house sewage/wastewater treatment facility in operation)
  • All regions

      Regulatory change in water use and discharge

    • Abide by in-house criteria that are stricter than the legal discharge standards in each countries
  • All regions

      Regulatory change in water use and discharge

    • Abide by in-house criteria that are stricter than the legal discharge standards in each countries

      Efficiency-based legislation

    • Review water efficiency when building new facilities and invest in improving the water efficiency of existing facilities

      Uncertainty over new regulations

    • Continuously monitor global environmental regulations
  • All regions

      Efficiency-based legislation

    • Review water efficiency when building new facilities and invest in improving the water efficiency of existing facilities

      Uncertainty over new regulations

    • Continuously monitor global environmental regulations

Reputational
risk

  • All regions

      Lawsuits related to wastewater

    • Continuously monitor effluent discharge
    • Promptly build an environmental management system for new manufacturing sites