Our Compliance Manager recently completed the ISO 14001 Internal Auditor training and in the spirit of continual improvement we have since reviewed our environmental objectives, to ensure that they are in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
The SDG’s that resonate with us are those relating to Quality Education on sustainable development and global citizenship (Goal 4); the reduction of waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse (Goal 12), and promoting effective partnerships within the public, commercial and charitable sectors (Goal 17).
So, with this is mind, Galaxy CI has been busy visiting local schools and businesses to talk about the importance of reusing hardware and electrical waste in order to extend the lifespan of useful devices.
After collecting and sorting the different waste materials into different recycling streams, Guernsey exports the majority of materials for further processing and remanufacturing. This is unavoidable, as we simply do not generate sufficient material to make large scale on-island recycling and manufacturing processes efficient.
The reuse of hardware can help reduce the import of new devices to the island, and export for recycling. Reuse also saves on the raw materials required for manufacturing new devices. Galaxy is exploring new opportunities for the reuse of hardware, and component parts, on island. Watch this space!
Recycling hardware at end of life results in the reuse of finite materials, such as precious metals; and reduces the need to mine raw materials, and the adverse impact on the environment. Manufacturing process that use recycled materials also require less energy than manufacturing using raw materials.
The average iPhone contains 0.034g of gold, 0.034g of silver and less than 0.0001g of platinum. This doesn’t sound like much, but 45% of UK households have between 2 – 5 unused devices, and 39% of adults have more than 10 devices (Royal Society for Chemistry, 2019). If those figures are multiplied by the Guernsey population (x 60,000) those small amounts suddenly become quite significant.
It is estimated that less than 10% of mobile phones, globally, are recycled. But in the next 100 years, manufacturing industries will run out of 6 of the metals and elements found in common electrical devices, such as mobile phones and tablets. A rare earth element called “Indium” is used extensively in touch screens as it bonds easily to glass, is transparent, and conducts electricity (British Geological Survey). A shortage of Indium will affect our ability to manufacture renewable energy technologies, such as solar panels.
In 2018, The Guardian tracked electrical waste leaving the EU using GPS units, and found that 67% of e-Waste is being exported to developing countries such as Ghana. Processing methods include uncontrolled burning of electrical waste to expose copper; and high incidences of respiratory and cardiac disorders amongst labourers burning e-Waste without adequate protective equipment. Burning e-Waste results in a recovery rate of less than 50%, compared to recovery rates of more than 90% when following best practices.
As part of our commitment to promoting sustainability, and providing education about environmental issues and consumer choices within our industry; we are happy to visit schools and businesses and chat informally about e-Waste, reuse and recycling, and sustainable supply chains. We are also available to deliver more structured sessions for students and employees. Please get in touch via email@example.com
Galaxy CI has maintained certification against the ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard and ISO 9001 Quality Management Standard since 2015; and was recently awarded certification against the ISO 27001 Information Security Management Standard.