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Google pledges to 'maximize' recycled material in own products

By 2020, all shipments to and from customers will be carbon neutral.
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T3 Magazine via Getty Images

Google has been making consumer hardware under its "Made by Google" brand -- like its Pixel phones and Google Home Minis -- for three years, and dabbled in other hardware for a few years before that. Now, it's ready to make its products more sustainable. Starting in 2022, 100 percent of its Made by Google products will include recycled materials and will maximize recycled content whenever possible. By 2020, 100 percent of all shipments going to or from customers will be carbon neutral.

These add to Google's existing sustainability efforts. From 2017 to 2018, it cut its product shipment carbon emissions by 40 percent. Its Power Project will provide one million energy-saving Nest thermostats to families in need by 2023, and many Nest products are already made with post-consumer recycled plastic.

Switching to recycled content isn't always easy, though. As Fast Company reports, when Google's hardware team began working on a yet-to-be-announced product that will be out later this year, it decided to swap industry-standard polyester fabric for fabric made from recycled bottles. It reportedly took the team two years to make sure the material met design and manufacturing requirements and that vendors could supply it at scale. Now, each unit of the mystery product will reuse a third of a plastic bottle. That's the kind of thing we may see more frequently beginning in 2022.

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