What motivated you to join the Partnership Program?
The Zero Waste Partnership Program is a symbol of optimism when it comes to recycling and waste. Right now, there’s a lot of confusion about recycling, and it’s making people apathetic and unsure of how they can make a difference. Recycling is still helpful, but reducing and reusing waste is even better. Remark Glass’ mission is to make glass useful; this is our craft, and so we do it skillfully. We believe that glass isn’t waste, and we prove it by reworking the material to give it new life as timeless art and household pieces. We’ve always had this Zero Waste vision for glass, so joining the Partnership was an obvious step to solidify our commitment to reducing waste in the city.
What are your goals as a new Partner?
We want to remind people that waste is a massive, global problem, but that it’s also a local problem with local solutions. Small and independent businesses like us are taking steps every day to reduce and reuse would-be waste in Philadelphia – for us, it just happens to be a core element of our business model. We want to be part of a solution to waste and litter in Philadelphia, and that starts with being vocal and active advocates for Zero Waste in our community.
What are some Zero Waste Actions you’ve implemented or are working towards?
We’re paying even greater attention to our own habits within the studio. We’ve already had a fairly Zero Waste culture in our workplace, but now that we’re Partners, we’re extra motivated to find ways to reduce waste and stay accountable to our goals. Even if it’s as small as keeping reusable mugs in the office, we’re going to do it; but we’re also looking into bigger projects, like collecting compost. We’ve also started using reusable hand towels instead of paper, and it’s already put a huge dent in the amount of waste we send to the landfill.
In terms of our business operations, we’ve always tried to identify low- and Zero-Waste options in every area. For example, we’re constantly looking for new Zero Waste options for packaging our finished glass products. At one point, we used plastic grocery bags as a box stuffer to protect the glass, kind of like packing peanuts or bubble wrap. We have great relationships with our studio neighbors in the Bok Building, and many of them not only bring us glass bottles, but also their used cardboard boxes and other packaging materials. We’re continuing to look for recycled/reused packaging options and hope to use 100% upcycled packaging eventually.
Basically, our Zero Waste philosophy is: if there’s a buildup of waste in any area, we should try to find a way to minimize that stream. Any time we find a product that we aren’t currently using to its full potential, we self-audit and find a solution.