Most of us are aware of just how problematic the issue of discarded e-waste is, and on a global scale too. There’s not so much as one component inside any device you’ve ever had that was biodegradable, and so every piece of every phone you’ve ever owned still exists somewhere. If you’re not aware of how much e-waste disposal is a problem then Google search Guiyu, China or Agbogbloshie in Ghana. It’s important that as societies we start to produce MUCH less of this type of waste.
It’s no secret that big tech has designed devices with planned obsolescence in mind; that is, making sure that you buy a new device within a few years. That also has to come to an end, and here at 4GoodHosting we’re like any other Canadian web hosting provider in that being at the front of the digital movement in life and business means we can relate to how so many people think they ‘need’ the latest and greatest in smartphone and smart device technology.
The problem is that consumer preferences and freedoms mean that there’s likely to be plenty of perfectly functional smartphones being discarded. However, if a new program introduced by Korean tech giant Samsung gains any leverage it’s likely that a good number fewer of them will become scrap.
What’s the long and short of Samsung’s Upcycling Program? Let’s have a look at it here today.
From Smart ‘Phone’ to Smart ‘Device’
So while we’ve agreed that the smartphone business isn’t exactly the most eco-friendly, it’s true that some companies have been working to correct that over the last few years, and specifically with programs that disassemble and reuse the metals inside of our phones. Unfortunately that still leaves a lot of waste that isn’t repurposed and if this trend continues we may well be swimming in the stuff within a generation or two.
So the new Galaxy Upcycling at Home initiative from Samsung is arriving not a moment too soon, and what is does is takes your old Galaxy phones and turns them into smart home devices. The program works with Samsung’s SmartThings smart home system and with it users are able to designate their old phones as a number of different things.
For example, how about a childcare tool? You can make it so that your old Galaxy phone’s sensors and microphone serve as a baby monitor and forward alerts to your phone should it hear your baby crying. It could also serve as an IoT SmartThings remote, where you trigger scenes and automations with IoT devices that are set up for it.
The Korean smartphone superpower has indicated there’s quite a bit more that their devices could be used for – clocks, music players, security cameras, and more when accessible through the SmartThings ecosystem. All of this really does have a lot of potential, and especially when we think about repurposing a smartphone as a security camera – to take just one example – the camera in your smartphone is almost certainly better quality than the one in your actual security camera.
With all this said, the best way to ensure a phone doesn’t end up in an e-waste landfill is to pass it on to someone who can make good use of it. This is exactly what I did with my old BlackBerry Q20, a family member who only needs a reliable talk & text device is still using it.
It’s this coming Friday that Samsung is hosting its Galaxy Unpacked event, where the Galaxy S21 series will be debuted. With it millions of people will be upgrading from their old devices so hopefully, this program might mean fewer of them end up being waste right away. We all stand to benefit from reducing the amount of e-waste produced globally.