Person Story - Materials Technologist Sander


Materials Technologist Sander Õun
It is a pleasure to introduce you our materials technologist Sander. He was born and raised in Saaremaa, is currently studying in Tartu and the youngest of us. Sander has been with Suckõrs right from the beginning. He first joined us with the perspective of developing materials based on our waste from straw production, which is still his main mission. By now his functions have a wider cut: researching, analyzing, writing and hands-on producing. Although he is seen in the manufactury in Saaremaa only a few times a month, he fulfills his duties remotely.

From the straw technology standpoint, his objective is to continuously ensure the user safety of the straws and hold communication with the competence centers related to analysis. In addition carry ongoing research for enhancing the properties of the straws and implementing new technologies, evaluate the environmental impact of processes in use and new ones to come.  Sander is responsible for writing tasks related to operation such as applications, project documents as well as our blog articles.

With a year and a half, Sander has succeeded to transform our waste reed into 3 reed-based materials with different functions – Reed paper (carton), Reed sheet (similar to wood fiberboard) and a decorative Reed leaf. All our materials contain only reed and fully natural binders; we do not use adhesives, bioplastic or any environment harming substances. We are a circular economy company using the waste from one production line as a raw material for the other.

Reed-based Materials

Aside from his amazing job and academic activities Sander deeply enjoys balance, making good food (and eating it), basketball, freedom of action and contentful communications.

It is important for every enterprise to grow and develop itself – sustainably. Decisions must be made based on knowledge and evidence, analyzing the impact and outcome from as many aspects as possible. Science-based operation establishes the ground for a company to create stable additional value and profit, all while respecting the environment and nature around us. The most sustainable products are created by mimicking natural structures and substances, implementing them to good use. These are the values and principles on which Sander bases his work in Suckõrs.

 


Sander Õun

 

Which green habits are a part of your daily life? 
I use a reusable water bottle, coffee cup, shopping bag, and a reed straw, I avoid use and purchase of single-use and unnecessary products as much as possible. I sort waste at home. I am active in clean technologies, contributing to the development of the field and often introducing it and the principles to others as well.

Which actions you do not take, but could?
I could certainly avoid packaging and consume local food more, drive less with a car and use public transport even more. I believe there is always room for being better.

 

Why do we have to make environmentally conscious choices at all?
I think it all comes down to protecting ourselves and the environment around us. Industry, transport and energy production do not only affect the global air pollution and CO2 balance but all the local conditions around us. Clean air, land and sea are dear to us all and worth preserving.

Does one have to be big in order to do big things?
Not directly. I think a small action can have a far greater impact than originally considered. A small action can have an impact on someone else to do the same, that someone can carry it on and the impact can multiply further, eventually reaching an enterprise or association, instantly causing a great positive impact. By those means a small initiative can have a massive result, like positive butterfly effect.

When did you grow a green mindset, what caused it?
It started quite randomly. During the second year of University, I was introduced to the laboratory of nanotechnologies and the development work being done on protein-based fiber materials. I took the opportunity and started researching the topic in order to conduct my Bachelor’s thesis on it. Further from there, I got a related job as a materials developer in start-up Gelatex. A part of duties was to research clean technologies and chemicals and I attended many events of Cleantech ForEst, where I heard loads of information on environmentally friendly lifestyle and business. Since then the snowball has been continuously growing and hasn’t stopped yet.

When were you last embarrassed, why?
I was a teacher in sex education class to 8th graders a few weeks ago.

If you were an animal, which one and why?
Probably an owl. I really enjoy late nights and I am most productive then. I sometimes picture myself as smarty pants with big round glasses as well.


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