When it comes to sustainable practices, Oak State has been leading the industry having pioneered the Energy Star program for bakeries.

Being a leader in sustainability made Oak State a topic of study for a university’s sustainable practice studies. Earlier this year, Bradley University sent a group of students to Oak State. The group looked at gas usage, air compression and electricity usage among many other opportunities.

In addition, Oak State partnered with a customer and the University of Illinois for a study on waste streams. “For two full days, we looked at not only scrap but also buckets, cardboard, product wrapping — anything that left the room — even hairnets.” Yes, hairnets, according to Oak State President Byron Goulding.

In the end, Oak State improved best practices, including finding a company to recycle hairnets and buckets. “That used to be a bigger problem when we were smaller, finding someone who would take things,” said Steve Goulding, CEO. “But as we got bigger, recycling got easier for straps on pallets and things like that; you actually have to make enough to be worth it.”