Google will neutralize carbon emissions from delivering consumer hardware.

Alphabet Inc’s Google announced Monday that it would neutralize carbon emissions from delivering consumer hardware by next year and include recycled plastic in each of its products by 2022.

The announcement comes amid competition among tech companies to show environmentally conscious consumers and governments that they are reducing the environmental impact made by their broad array of gadgets.

Anna Meegan, head of sustainability for Google’s devices and services unit, said in an interview that the company’s transport-related carbon emissions per unit fell 40% in 2018 compared to the previous year by relying more on ships instead of planes to move phones, speakers, laptops, and other gadgets around the world.

Meegan also highlighted that three out of every nine Google products for which the company has detailed disclosures online contain recycled plastic, ranging from 20% to 42% in the casings for its Google Home speakers and Chromecast streaming dongles.

Furthermore, in a blog post, Google announced its commitment to introducing recycled plastic to 100% of products by 2022.

The race to be green

Meegan nevertheless acknowledged that Google’s three-year-old hardware business currently lags behind rival Apple Inc in some sustainability efforts.

Apple, which in 2017 committed to “one day” only using recycled and renewable materials, has at least 50% recycled plastic in parts of many of its products, recycled tin in at least 11 products, and recycled aluminum in at least two.

Yet Meegan insisted that Google will soon be catching up.

“It’s going to take us time to demonstrate progress, but we are fundamentally looking to build sustainability into everything we do,” she said.


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Paul Imison
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