Samsung has embraced the marketing power of sustainability by releasing a series of Galaxy Watch 4 bands made from a number of materials more environmentally friendly than your average watch strap.
The six bands are a collaboration with fashion designer Sami Miró, and most eye-catchingly the “Midnight Black” and “Stratus Sky” straps are constructed from apple peel “recovered from the fruit industry”. Despite this, they’ll have a “premium look of leather”, only without any animals being hurt in the production. No word of if they’re edible or not.
The other four straps are built from thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and are fully recyclable. They’re sold in “Aurora Night”, “Cloud Navy”, “Earth Sunrise” and “Dawn Atlas” shades. The straps start at around NZ$56.
An ap-peeling option?
It’s always curious when companies do things like this in the name of sustainability, because it draws attention to their other products that conspicuously fail to provide the same green asurances.
And if you pull on that thread too much, then other difficult questions tend to crop up. Questions like “wouldn’t it be more sustainable if I just used the strap that was shipped with the watch in the first place?”. Or even “wouldn’t it be more sustainable if companies stopped mining the Earth for precious metals for smartwatches that get replaced every couple of years?”
To Samsung’s credit, the company actually has better sustainability credentials than many of its competitors, and has not only switched to renewable energy in its sites in the US, Europe and China, but taken steps to seriously reduce the amount of plastic it uses in its packaging.
It’s a low bar, though and it’s worth remembering that the ‘three Rs of sustainability’ are, in order of preference, “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.” Small gestures towards the third, though welcome, can’t on their own make up for the deafening silence on the more impactful other two.