GALAXY wasn’t a coincidence

Angela Spang

My eldest daughter is 10. For her, the environmental impact of plastic is horrifying, to the point that it makes her cry when she sees the impact as she researches plastic pollution online. Many times I have found her in her room wiping tears off her face as she shows me turtles trapped in plastic bags, mountains of garbage on the sea bed and the comparisons of how much plastic there is versus animals in the ocean.

Her school has implemented plastic free lunches, and her class won by a mile, fuelled no doubt by her and her friends, driving the message home. My normally quiet little girl admitted with an embarrassed smile that she “screamed and hugged Matilda” when they won the lunch challenge.

They have written to the local supermarkets, challenging them to create a plastic free isle, and the other day when I came home, the entire sidewalk outside our house was covered in chalk drawings: they had created a 15 meter long masterpiece with images of fish, oceans and wildlife, with one clear message…..”reduce plastic waste!!!”.

As you can see, the guiding principle for making our new GALAXY II a better designed product for surgical retractor (for ENT, Orthopaedics, Gynae and urology) with 10% less plastic to reduce waste and environmental impact WASN’T A COINCIDENCE.

NHS in England has bought more than half a billion disposable cups over the last five years. This is a great area where simple innovations can make a big difference. The NHS in England spent £87 million on waste in 2014/15 – we are talking a huge part of the funding for our NHS going to waste management. ‘The management of healthcare waste is an essential part of ensuring that healthcare activities do not pose a risk or potential risk of infection and are securely managed.’ This responsibility is borne out in the breadth of regulations that healthcare providers must follow when managing waste including Controlled Waste Regulations, the Hazardous Waste Directive, and Carriage of Dangerous Goods Regulations. Important work, and we need to get it right.

As an example; waste for HTI (High Temperature Incineration) collected at Guy’s in London is burnt at Augean’s plant in Kent, the only facility in the UK capable of recovering energy from the process. (Waste is burnt at 1,100 degrees centigrade to guarantee the destruction of any hazardous properties.) St Thomas’s HTI waste is taken to Tradebe’s incinerator in Surrey, which doesn’t recover energy.

The future of our planet is something that concerns all of us. Nobody can change the world single- handily, but we can all be making smarter choices in the little things in life, and if we all pitch in, the results will make a difference.

My contribution this time is 10% less plastic in 10 000 surgical retractors in the UK annually.