Galway Sustainability Journey

This year Boston Scientific celebrates twenty years in Galway, Ireland. The Plant is a key facility in the Boston Scientific global operations network, now employing approximately 2,500 people.

Sustainability Has Always Been on
the Plant's Agenda

As early as 1995, the site implemented energy improvements when converting a warehouse into cleanrooms and when designing later expansions. In 1999 the site won an Irish national energy efficiency award, recognizing these and other successes.

In 2000, the site formalized their sustainability journey when they achieved certification to the ISO 14001:2004 Environmental Management System (EMS). The EMS incorporated sustainability into existing operations and helped identify significant aspects to focus their efforts.

Waste Management

Initially, Galway focused on developing a waste management program and introduced a simple recycling regime to divert waste from landfill; now they recycle over 80% of solid waste generated (approximately 700 tons/year). The remaining waste is used to generate electricity with zero waste going to landfill.

The recycling and waste reduction program at the Galway facility was initiated in 2000, and their recycling percentage has increased each year. In 2012 the site achieved zero landfill status by recycling 78% of all on-site non-hazardous waste generated and diverting the remaining waste for energy recovery.

Continuous Improvement

The ISO 14001:2004 philosophy of continuous improvement and reducing environmental impact means that Galway’s efforts are not limited to recycling, but also include reduction in hazardous and non-hazardous waste generation, with one project alone resulting in a 50% reduction (over 400 tons) of an acid hazardous waste stream.

Innovative Technologies

As the site's energy demand peaked in 2008, it used its EMS to set goals and implement projects to reduce associated impacts on the environment. As more conventional projects were completed, the site increased its focus on innovative technologies and employee engagement to achieve the next levels of improvement.

One of the site's greatest successes was installing a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant, which generates 25% of their electricity, using the waste heat to meet 80% of the building's heat requirements, and holds the additional environmental benefit of eliminating the use of heavy fuel oil.

Since 2008 the electrical and thermal load has been reduced by 37% and greenhouse gas emissions reduced by 28% (over 5,400 tons). It would take approximately 50,000 mature trees to remove the same amount of carbon in the same timeframe.

The plant's commitment to sustainability was further demonstrated with the substitution of chemicals such as "HCFC's" with compounds that cause less damage to the ozone layer years before legislative requirement.

As the site's energy demand peaked in 2008, it used its EMS to set goals and implement projects to reduce associated impacts on the environment. As more conventional projects were completed, the site increased its focus on innovative technologies and employee engagement to achieve the next levels of improvement.

One of the site's greatest successes was installing a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant, which generates 25% of their electricity, using the waste heat to meet 80% of the building’s heat requirements, and holds the additional environmental benefit of eliminating the use of heavy fuel oil.

Since 2008 the electrical and thermal load has been reduced by 37% and greenhouse gas emissions reduced by 28% (over 5,400 tons). It would take approximately 50,000 mature trees to remove the same amount of carbon in the same timeframe.

The plant's commitment to sustainability was further demonstrated with the substitution of chemicals such as "HCFC's" with compounds that cause less damage to the ozone layer years before legislative requirement.The introduction of new multi-function printers site wide resulted in reduced energy, paper and toner use.

Continuing the Sustainability Journey

Continuing its sustainability journey, the Galway Plant has expanded its focus beyond the confines of the site by benchmarking with other industries and universities, and hosting numerous events and initiatives to raise awareness. Past events included: employee collection days for household waste electrical equipment and household hazardous waste, vendor presentations on alternative energy solutions, facilitating the purchase of energy efficient lighting, and a cycle to work initiative.

As noted by Mike O’Flynn, VP Operations, Galway, "We are proud of our sustainability journey at Boston Scientific Galway, and committed to conducting business in a safe and environmentally sustainable manner." 

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