What motivated you to join the Partnership Program?
Oat Foundry was born and bred in Philadelphia, and we’re driven to contribute to the community. Whether we’re volunteering as a company on a litter cleanup or working on a project with another Philly business, we want to have a positive and sustainable impact upon this city. Zero Waste is another way for us to pitch in when it comes to bettering Philly’s environment. It’s exciting for us to say we’re part of the Philadelphia Zero Waste Partnership because we’re now part of a collection of businesses that understand the importance of environmental stewardship and community. Not to mention, we’re a bunch of engineers – we appreciate having standards to meet and an authority checking our work on Zero Waste (we are so proud you can find the sticker right on our front door!).
What are your goals as a new Partner?
We believe strongly in incorporating Zero Waste into our company culture. As a new Zero Waste Partner, we hope to identify sustainable materials and products to use in the office and in manufacturing. This provided an opportunity to make a number of small changes relatively quickly. For example, we began using fewer paper towels in favor of reusable dish rags and using any misprinted t-shirts as shop rags. Behavioral change isn’t easy, but implementing these small changes ultimately makes us more aware of how we engage with the products we use and the impact of using those products. Small steps make it easier for us to follow through on loftier Zero Waste goals down the road. The lessons we teach and the habits we create here impact Zero Waste culture far beyond our headquarters.
We also strive to advocate for and augment the Zero Waste Partnership. As we implement programs within our company, we hope to share the processes we develop with Zero Waste and other partners throughout the city to make it easier and more rewarding for other businesses to implement sustainable practices.
What are some Zero Waste Actions you’ve implemented or are working towards?
Right away, we assigned a Zero Waste coordinator to take ownership of Oat Foundry’s Zero Waste program. This person is in charge of auditing our waste throughout the month and making sure proper disposal methods are in place for the materials that pass through our headquarters. We’re particularly lucky to have access to a grassy plot of land at our office complex, which we’ve used to set up a compost pile. We keep a bucket in the office kitchen to collect food scraps throughout the week, and when the compost is ready, we take it home to use in our yards and for our houseplants. In the future, we’d like to expand this resource to the community within our complex and start a composting project with the neighboring schools. Both of these actions have progressed our mission; Zero Waste is quickly becoming second-nature here at Oat Foundry.