Product Stewardship Institute: What is the #1 product stewardship issue that needs to be addressed?
Jennifer Sweatt: First would be getting the word out about what product stewardship is, I didn’t know about it until I came to PSI. Next would be packaging, I see so much waste in packaging and it drives me crazy.
PSI: What brought you to the environmental movement?
JS: Although I have always been conscience of the environment and tried to “do my part” it was not until I came to PSI that I really became a part of the “movement.”
PSI: Who was your greatest influence? I have had 3 major influences; my dad, a college professor, and my last boss.
JS: My dad has always been my mentor and I have tried to emulate him in many ways, my college professor taught me how to think and write, and my last boss taught me so much about business, how best to mange organizations, and how to handle myself professionally.
PSI: What could the environmental movement do better?
JS: I don’t necessarily think we need to keep telling people the world is in an environmental crisis, almost everyone knows that and those that don’t well…. I think what we need to do more of is letting people know what they can do personally, beyond putting paper, cans, and plastics in the recycling bucket. Within a few months of being at PSI I came across so many ways I could do things differently or better and although some are more than many people may want or be able to do, others are easily incorporated into daily life.
PSI: What is the environmental movement doing right?
JS: I see the movement turning from the traditional “hippie” stereotype to becoming a part of people’s everyday lives. For kids today recycling has always been a part of their lives and they are more open to what changes need to be made and are more mindful of their personal impact.
PSI: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being not at all and a 10 being zero waste, how good a recycler are you?
JS: Probably a 6, maybe a 7. We recycle everything we can. We have a compost pile and take larger items to the town compost area. We do look at packaging when purchasing items, and have used it as a decision factor. We try and capture some of our gray water to water our plants with and we try and buy things that can be reused versus one-time use, and have done a fairly decent job of not using plastic bags.
PSI: What is the 1 gadget from “the future” you’d like to see in real life?
JS: There are so many: tractor beams, light sabers, medical scanners, holograms, but realistically I would like to see a good, reliable, plentiful, cost efficient source of energy that we can use world-wide.
PSI: What 1 thing do you do better than anyone else you know?
JS: I am not sure I do anything better than anyone else, just as good maybe. Although I do make a mean lasagna.
PSI: What would be the title of your autobiography?
JS: “Bottle of red, bottle of white”
PSI: What would you be if you could be anything else?
JS: A writer.
PSI: What wouldn’t you want to be?
JS: Someone who had to do small menial tasks all day, everyday – it would drive me crazy
PSI: What is your proudest accomplishment?
JS: I’m not sure I have one pinnacle moment yet. I am proud that my husband and I had our own business for a while, that we did take that chance. But, if I had to choose it would probably be my pets – we’ve adopted 3 cats and 2 dogs over the years and all were rescues. It kills me to think someone didn’t want them, because they are so great and bring me such joy.
Jennifer Sweatt is the Business Manager for the Product Stewardship Institute. She has over 15 years of experience in finance, administration and in managing small to medium-sized businesses. She was the co-founder of AICS, a local Internet access company in the mid to late 1990’s, and has also worked in the hardware engineering and medical devices industries. She has spent countless hours volunteering for organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and her local library, and is a proud Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters. She is an avid reader and enjoys spending time on the seacoast and walking her dogs. She received her MBA from Norwich University and her undergraduate degree from Bentley College.