Discarded fishing nets are on ongoing problem in waterways. New Samsung devices will put them to use. Handout photo

New Smartphones Made from Recycled Fishing Nets

Discarded fishing gear is a big component of the waterway pollution issue worldwide, including in the Chesapeake Bay. A NOAA-funded study estimated that there are 145,000 derelict crab pots in the Chesapeake Bay, which can continue to kill 3.3 million blue crabs every year, along with fish and turtles that get trapped inside.

Old fishing nets also add up quickly off the mid-Atlantic coast and beyond. According to a federal report, 640,000 tons of fishing nets are abandoned and discarded every year. Now, the tech company Samsung Electronics is using nets that are pulled from the water to make new cell phones.

Samsung says it has developed a material that incorporates “ghost nets” into all new Galaxy devices. Ghost nets can trap and entangle marine life, damage coral reefs and other habitats, and sometimes even end up in food and water sources.

The newest product lineup, revealed Feb. 9, includes three new Galaxy S22 smartphones and three Galaxy tablets. While the upcycled fishing net material is brand new, Samsung has been using recycled plastics in its products for years. Since 2009, the company says it has reused over 220,000 tons of plastic worldwide in its products.

And Samsung says it will begin using recycled ocean-bound plastic (that is, abandoned plastic waste from micro- to macro-plastics within 50km of shores) in all its products in the future, from TVs to refrigerators.

Says the company in its launch, “This new technological advancement marks a notable achievement in the company’s journey to deliver tangible environmental actions and protect the planet for generations to come.”

-Meg Walburn Viviano