Samsung has announced (opens in new tab) that it's turning green, replacing plastic phone and tablet packaging with sustainable alternatives.
The company says that it'll begin making the switch in the first half of this year, substituting plastic trays with ones made from molded recycled paper pulp. By the end of next year, it plans to only use paper products certified by environmental organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council and Sustainable Forestry Initiative.
Samsung is also redesigning its chargers so they need less packaging to begin with, giving them a matt finish that resists scratches and doesn't need a protective plastic film to keep it looking good.
It's not just mobile devices, either; the giant bags used to wrap TVs and white goods will be replaced with alternatives made from recycled materials or bioplastics (opens in new tab) (made from starch or sugar cane).
It ain't easy being green
Samsung's shift away from excessive and non-renewable packaging is a positive step, but the it's worth noting that all plastics have their problems. Although bioplastics are made from renewable materials, they don't always biodegrade faster than their petrochemical counterparts, and the intensive farming needed to produce the raw materials for them can damage local ecosystems.
Also, plastic can usually only be recycled once, so those bags protecting Samsung's new washing machines will still end up in landfill – or worse, if they aren't disposed of responsibly.