The design of the Samsung Galaxy S23 has a more interesting sustainability story to tell

Samsung finally took the veil off its flagship in early 2023, and to no surprise it’s exactly as the leaks claimed. If you’re feeling a little déjà vu, that’s because this year Samsung has carried most of the design cues from last year’s models for the Galaxy S23 trio. Of course there are some changes, like removing the somewhat cumbersome “contour cut” camera hump for separate raised lenses per camera, somewhat unifying the design language of the three while retaining the Ultra model’s distinctive identity. While the familiar design works well for brand recognition, some might find it dull compared to the bold and sometimes gimmicky appearances of other phones. However, hidden within this simple and understated appearance is something more important that could have a significant impact on the future of Samsung phones and that of the planet too.

Designer: Samsung

While they may not be the biggest culprits, the sheer volume of smartphones being produced each quarter, not just each year, has an undeniable environmental impact, most if not all of which is negative. The resources used and wasted in the manufacture of phones, not to mention the amount of plastics used in components, all contribute to the deterioration of the planet. Smartphones are also thrown away far too soon, sometimes just because they are no longer supported by the company, and their improper disposal is also slowly poisoning land and sea.

Luckily, smartphone makers, especially big ones like Samsung and Apple, have started to take notice and take action. Some might question the actual effectiveness of removing the charger from its packaging, but thankfully the positive action doesn’t stop there. For its part, Samsung is proudly shouting about its growing sustainability efforts, and the Galaxy S23 series is said to be taking the next step towards a slightly greener smartphone.

The new Samsung phones now have more parts that use recycled materials, 12 both internal and external components to be precise. These include using post-consumer recycled plastic from PET bottles and discarded fishing nets, as well as pre-consumer recycled aluminum and glass. Very interesting is the revelation that the protective glass used for the phones, Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2, contains 22% recycled pre-consumer glass.

A tremendous amount of unsustainable materials are still used in smartphones, and the processes used to manufacture them and their components continue to pollute the environment. A small win is still a win, though, so Samsung definitely deserves a pat on the back. Even more so as, contrary to common capitalist business logic, Samsung promises around four to five years of support for its phones to ensure they stay usable and stay out of landfills even longer.

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