Electronics firms are often quick to play up the green credentials of their devices, and when it comes to smartphones, those credentials aren’t always particularly impressive. On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy Exhilarate might set a new benchmark for eco handsets. Constructed in part with recycled post-consumer waste, and equipped with biodegradable cases, the smartphone is the first device of its kind to be certified UL Platinum for sustainability.

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As well as all the standard features that smartphones come with these days (voice recognition, 5-megapixel auto-focus rear-facing camera, 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera), the phone boasts a rear casing made from 80% recycled (post-consumer waste) material and is packaged with a low-load, energy-efficient charger that alerts customers when the device is fully charged.

AT&T customers also get the option of two custom Eco Silicrylic cases from Incipio, both of which are made from a combination of biodegradable and recycled materials.  Composed of two parts, an inner silicone rubber made of recycled silicone regrind material, and an outer bio resin plastic shell, the cases aim to “complement the environmentally conscious features of the smartphone it protects”.

By attaining the platinum certification, the Exhilarate holds the distinction of being the first 4G LTE smartphone to receive the award from UL Environment, a business unit of Underwriters Laboratories. Since 2011, AT&T and UL Environment have been “working towards the development of requirements to identify leading mobile phones from an environmental and human health perspective.” UL Environment sets minimum requirements for “environmentally preferable” mobile devices by measuring environmentally sensitive materials, energy management, manufacturing and operations, impact to health and environment, product performance, packaging and product stewardship. It is hoped that all phones will go through a similar eco-rating system in the near future.

“AT&T is committed to developing and supporting products, like the Samsung Galaxy Exhilarate, that enable consumers to reduce their environmental impact without sacrificing features or the ability to enjoy a world-class smartphone experience,” said Jeff Bradley, senior vice president, Devices, AT&T Mobility. “We’re working hard every day to empower consumer choice and provide consumers with more options in-store as part of our ongoing commitment to sustainability.”

+ AT&T/Samsung

via Gigaom