In 2019 Google pledged to move towards a more sustainable product offering for their first party hardware with initiatives including the use of recycled materials in all products by 2022. Well, Google has claimed they have already achieved that goal, so they’re setting some new ones.
With the most recent devices: Google has incorporated 100% recycled aluminium in the Pixel 5, 70% recycled plastic for the Nest Audio speaker, continued use of Google’s post consumer plastic fabric, and recycled materials in the new Nest Thermostat. With Google claiming they have achieved their goals, they are now moving forward to more ambitious targets.
By 2025 Google plans to use a minimum of 50% recycled or renewable materials in all plastic used across Google hardware products. They will also ‘prioritise’ the use of recycled plastic everywhere they can, does this mean more plastic devices? If it’s actually better for the environment, I’d make that trade off.
Google is also pushing to be “Zero Waste to Landfill” certified. This certification from Underwriters Laboratories (UL) denotes that the majority of waste materials from Google’s final assembly plants are diverted to recycling or re-use.
Google acknowledges that there are many processes along the way to creating a final product, and they are working with partners to understand waste in those production systems, but they are starting with the processes most under their control. It’s easy to be cynical about large companies environmental endeavours. However, I for one would prefer industry leaders are starting to make these changes rather than doing nothing like many others are.