Samsung hammered the final nail in the Galaxy Note 7’s coffin when it confirmed that the handset is no longer going to be produced or sold. The Galaxy Note 7 is dead and those who are still holding on to their original or replacement unit are now urged to immediately stop using it and take it back for a refund or exchange. You might be wondering what Samsung plans on doing with the millions of Galaxy Note 7 units that it’s going to get back? Samsung says it’s going to “dispose of” all of them.
A spokesperson for the company confirmed to Motherboard that Samsung is not going to repair, refurbish or resell these units ever again. “We have a process in place to safely dispose of the phones,” says the official statement. Samsung will be recycling the handsets but that’s not necessarily a good thing when you consider the environmental impact of it all.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers estimated back in 2013 that almost 165 pounds of raw mined minerals are required for an average cell phone. The number is likely going to be higher for the Galaxy Note 7 as it was a very advanced device. Most of that mined material is lost when a handset is recycled. Of more than 50 elements inside the handset only a dozen will be recovered. Most of the rare earth elements are lost which tend to be the most human labor-intensive and environmentally destructive to mine.
This is one of the reasons why smartphones are refurbished and resold even after they have been out for years. The material that’s recovered during recycling is essentially of no value but companies can continue to make money on a device after refurbishing and reselling it. Samsung is doing good by ensuring us that it’s not going to refurbish and resell the Galaxy Note 7 but the environmental impact of it all is enough to give us pause to think about how we treat this planet.