Tech Topic Series: Eco-Design for Circular Electronics Economy, Webinar #1
iNEMI’s Eco-Design for Circular Electronics Economy is a series of three interactive webinars featuring experts from leading organizations that are doing innovative/beyond-compliance eco-design work. The series will be an avenue for eco-design leaders to showcase their thought processes, strategies, successes and failures. The goal is to capture the best and most innovative practices being used today and to highlight the processes these leaders follow to determine where to focus their eco-design efforts. All webinars will be recorded for broader distribution and exposure. Download an introduction to the series.
May 25, 2021
Pia Tanskanen, Nokia Corporate Affairs, Head of Environment
Mark Newton, Head of Corporate Sustainability, Samsung Electronics America
Pia Tanskanen kicked off the session by discussing how we used to live in a more circular economy where “products” were reused, often for totally different purposes than originally intended. To demonstrate, she showed a temple where the head of a statue had been used as part of a support pillar thousands of years ago – and was still “working” in that new role. This was contrasted with a proliferation of single-use cups vs. a single reusable cup.
Pia provided an overview of Nokia’s sustainability work and how they follows a design-for-environment process that incorporates stakeholders throughout the life cycle of a product. She discussed how a ~70% weight reduction was achieved by using a more compact design of a new mobile network radio site antenna. She also talked about other design programs incorporated recycled content in more than half of the cast aluminum parts used by Nokia products in 2020.
Mark Newton talked about Eco Conception – reviewing examples of key targets Samsung has set regarding reduction in GHG emissions, use of renewable materials and sustainable sourced paper packaging among others. This led to a more detailed review of their Eco-Packaging program and Galaxy Upcycling programs.
The Eco-Packaging program focuses on developing more eco-conscious packaging. This program, started five years ago, has had a positive environmental impact in that the current Galaxy S21 phone packaging generates only 49% of the waste generated by the packaging for the S7. Mark described the journey in some detail as both dramatic and incremental improvements were made to the packaging design.
He also highlighted the Galaxy Upcycling program where obsolete devices are modified via software and/or hardware to perform other functions. One demonstration pilot was conducted using an old Galaxy phone, a data system and a camera to perform eye health checks. Other applications such a pet CCTV, home weather station and outdoor projectors were discussed.
Series Follow-Up In addition to the initial three sessions, a summary video will be developed at the end of the series that captures the best practices and unique lessons from each of the speakers.
Future sessions beyond the initial three may also be scheduled as we find more speakers and get feedback from attendees and iNEMI members to guide us.