The mission of Penn State Net Impact’s undergraduate chapter is "To inspire, educate, and equip individuals to use the power of business to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable world.” The organization’s members carry that mission at all times and no member exemplifies this more than the organization’s president, Alec Raymond.
This past summer, Raymond interned for Covestro in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Covestro is a supplier of high-tech polymers and produce materials that are used in the creation of a variety of everyday products.
As part of the internship, Raymond and his fellow interns were broken into teams and each assigned a project focused on finding a way the company can do everyday practices more sustainably.
“Our team was working to recycle flexible foam waste,” Raymond said.
Flexible foam waste is a material that is used in Tempur-Pedic mattresses, Raymond said. Only the middle portion of the foam is used and the ends are removed and thrown away. The scraps had been previously disposed of by simply being tossed in the dumpster to be hauled away by the company’s regular trash provider, but the material is not biodegradable and sits in a landfill for millions of years, polluting our earth.
Raymond and his team’s mission this summer was to find a more environmentally-friendly way to dispose of the flexible foam material. They began the project by researching techniques to dispose of this kind of waste properly.
They quickly found the solution they needed.
“As our solution, we found a company that recycled this kind of flexible foam waste,” Raymond said.
The new trash provider recycles the foam material and saves it from sitting in a landfill. A simple solution to the problem, but Raymond’s team placed first in the competition and were able to see the new trash provider be implemented by the company.
Raymond cares about sustainability because he has not always been sustainable in the past and has seen the effects. He wants to ensure that the quality of life for himself and future generations is not diminished by problems that could be solved now.
Raymond walked away with a new perspective on the business world, “Every company can improve their practices…whatever you are doing you can be more sustainable.”
About Penn State Net Impact:
Penn State’s Net Impact Undergraduate Chapter’s mission is to inspire, educate, and equip individuals to use the power of business to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable world. We seek to Learn, Live and Lead in the areas of sustainability and social responsibility. The chapter is sponsored by the Smeal College of Business and housed in the Management & Organization Department at Smeal.
Learn more at http://www.pennstatenetimpact.com/