Google Hardware to be Carbon Neutral by 2020

Posted on August 5, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Chrome OS, Google, Hardware, Mobile, Smart Home with 20 Comments

Today, Google committed to making the delivery of its hardware products to and from customers carbon neutral by 2020. And it says that “100 percent” of these products will include recycled materials by 2022.

“We’ve been making consumer hardware like Pixel phones and Google Home Minis for just over three years now,” Google’s Anna Meegan writes. “But building these devices, getting them into the hands of our customers, and disposing of our old electronics can create significant waste.”

The goal, Google says, is to maximize recycled content wherever possible.

“Some people think design is about making things look pretty or look good,” Google hardware design lead Ivy Ross told Fast Company. “And really design is about solving problems for humanity. I said to the team, wait a minute, [sustainability] is just another problem and is probably the most important problem of our lifetime. Won’t we feel great as designers if we are taking that on?”

Google isn’t the first device maker to attempt such a change: Apple, which sells far more hardware than Google, has promoted its use of recycled materials for years.

“We are a young hardware brand,” Meegan said. “And we are looking at this opportunity as a perfect time for us to make a stand and bring something to what we believe customers want in the marketplace. This is something that people want as customers; it’s something that people want as Googlers. It aligns to our broader company culture around thinking about the big unsolved problems of our time. So this is something that we feel is the right thing to do. And really the right time to do it.”

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Comments (20)

20 responses to “Google Hardware to be Carbon Neutral by 2020”

  1. MrKirbs

    This is certainly a novel way for Google to announce that they're shutting down their hardware business

  2. karlinhigh

    "...disposing of our old electronics can create significant waste."

    Are they doing anything to need electronics disposed less often, such as having user-replaceable batteries and good repairability?

  3. Rob_Wade

    LOL. I just don't care about this garbage. I'm tired of all the hyperbole over "carbon footprints". I'll darn well do what I want to do, and I'll buy whomever gives me the value I am looking for. I'll happily continue to drive my 8 cylinder sports car and SUV.

  4. Pbike908

    Apple and now Google love to tout this in their PR. Left out is Apple 's and Google's most profitable customers are folks with BIGGEST carbon footprints on the planet -- Rich folks!

  5. Stooks

    Lol. It is made in China right? You know either #1 or #2 behind India as the leaders in world pollution.

    Pure PR BS image spin. Especially since the owners cruise around the globe in their Boing 767.

  6. Daekar

    The fine print makes this a far cry from fully carbon neutral... Oh well, baby steps.

    Wouldn't it be nice if the battery were user-serviceable and the devices weren't glued together? I bet that would make them better for the environment too... just saying.

  7. lvthunder

    The title and what they appear to be doing are not the same thing. In my mind at least if a product is going to be carbon neutral then it should be made in a factory that is carbon neutral and then delivered that way as well. I'm actually surprised not all of these products use at least something that is recycled now instead of waiting for 3 years to do that. At least the box and all the packing material should be made out of recycled stuff at this point.

    • christian.hvid

      In reply to lvthunder:

      The announcement could be a bit clearer about the difference between carbon neutrality and recycling. Both are good, of course, but they're not the same thing. Since there is no way to manufacture and transport stuff with zero emissions, carbon neutrality is generally taken to mean carbon compensation. In other words, for every ton of CO2 that is emitted as a result of Google's hardware business, they need to cut emissions by at least a ton somewhere else in order to stay carbon neutral.

  8. PeteB

    Step in the right direction.

  9. Bats

    LOL...nice, but it's not going to do anything.

    All this environment stuff was warned 20-30 years ago. Alot of action started happening during the Clinton Administration. Technologies were developed to cut down on use and dependency of fossil fuels and other things. World wide environmental organizations were formed to promote global legislation and practice to "help" the environment. Like I said, this has been going on since the father of the internet (Al Gore) was VP of ther US. And people want to tell us, that after ALL THAT ACTION, the environment hasn't improved a little bit? Google is a great company, but this carbon thing of Google's is not going to do a thing at all.

    Especially when you have the Google Execs and Hollywood flying private jets around the world like it's their aerial bicycle.

  10. mikes_infl

    3R's = Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    I don't believe the hype they're spewing because they really aren't doing what it sounds like they're saying.

    Anybody else notice that they're talking about the "DELIVERY" of those products?

    They ARE addressing a very important part of capitalism existing within an era of environmental activism: Hitting all the talking points.

    Large corporations that really want to become involved in the attempts to reduce their impact on others in the world need to start hiring Systems Sustainability Engineers. People that understand the concept of systems engineering and the ENTIRE path their products take from raw materials past the EOL and into the product reincarnation. Otherwise, it's just lip service.

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