Samsung salvages recalled Note 7 phones for parts and metal

A Greenpeace protestor demands that Samsung recycle/reuse/rethink the recalled Note 7.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Wonder what happened to the millions of recalled Galaxy Note 7 devices that were maybe/maybe not on the verge of exploding? 

They didn’t just disappear off the face of the earth after Samsung recalled the device — twice — in the wake of battery defects that caused Note 7s to burst into flames. (In fact, the same battery issues caused Samsung’s own factory to catch fire back in February. Ouch.)

Samsung recently revealed its plans (Korean) to break down the recalled phones into component parts — like camera modules, chips, and displays — that can be reused or sold. 

The electronics giant further expects to recover 157 metric tons worth of rare metals, the company said in a statement. That’s a whopping 346,126 pounds of cobalt, copper, silver and gold that Samsung can extract from components that it can’t otherwise reuse.

Samsung’s announcement will help it lay the Note 7 debacle to rest as the company prepares for its upcoming Galaxy Note 8 launch in late August. Samsung itself had come under fire in the months since the Note 7’s recall, for keeping quiet on what it planned to do with the millions of recalled phones. In February, protestors from Greenpeace disrupted a major Samsung event and demanded that the Note 7 phones get recycled or reused, rather than turned into harmful electronic waste. 

Samsung also decided to refurbish some of the recalled Note 7 phones, and sell a safe version in some markets. Earlier this month the refurbished Galaxy Note 7 FE went on sale in South Korea. This phone is said to have gone under Samsung’s eight-point battery check to ensure its safety, but there’s no official word on when or if it’ll come to other countries.

We’ll soon find out if the Note 8 can redeem the Galaxy Note’s scorched reputation.

Samsung did not respond to a request for comment.


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