Images via Sprint and Akihabara
The ReclaimThe Reclaim by Samsung and Sprint is about to make its way to the market, touted as an eco-friendly phone for buyers with an eco-conscience. Made of 40% corn-based plastic casing, free of phthalates and polyvinyl chloride, and near devoid of brominated flame retardants, the Reclaim eschews toxins that we would expect to be absent from any electronic positioning itself green. The charger also lights up when the battery is fully charged to remind users to unplug. The manufacturers moved beyond the phone as well, improving other elements of the overall product -- the packaging is made from 70% recycled materials; the manual is online only (rather than printed and packaged with the phone); and Sprint will also donate $2 to the Nature Conservancy's Adopt an Acre Program for each Reclaim purchase. These are all great features, but are they enough to say this is truly a green phone, or is it simply a step above most mobile phones out there? After all, the competition isn't very tough when it comes to eco-friendly phones -- selection is currently minimal. Most we've seen offer only one of several greener elements -- better packaging, recyclability, PLA plastic casing, or solar recharging (such as Blue Earth does). And so, the Reclaim does indeed wiggle its way onto greener turf. And, at $50, it's listed at a price point that makes an eco-friendly option accessible to the masses. (Hopefully the low ticket price won't encourage buyers to think of it as a disposable gadget, though.)
For all the Reclaim's greener features, we're still waiting for a phone that is made of 100% recycled and recyclable materials, packaged in a way that it is zero waste, runs on renewable energy, and all those other cradle-to-cradle features we so often discuss. And just remember, the greenest phone out there is still the one you already own and keep for as long as possible before recycling and buying a used phone to replace it. If you must buy new, then a phone like the Reclaim is a decent bet, even if it doesn't meet our gold standard just yet.
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