Eadaoin Quinn

Director of Business Development and Procurement at EFS-plastics Inc.

Eadaoin Quinn always knew she wanted to pursue a career focused on helping the environment and conservation—she received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Montreal-based McGill University in 2008 and a master’s degree in forestry from the University of Toronto in 2011.

“I really was feeling like I wanted to get out and talk to people about why they should care about conserving the environment and making choices that will be good for our planet,” she says.

When she started looking for jobs in 2011, her older sister, Maite Quinn-Richards, who then worked for Rye, New York-based Sims Metal Management Ltd. and now is managing director at New York City-based Closed Loop Partners, encouraged her to consider a career in recycling. Quinn says she realized that the industry would be a good fit for her.

Since starting her career, Quinn has worked for Sims as an education and outreach manager and Toronto-based Canada Fibers as a communications and outreach manager. Today, she is the director of business development and procurement at EFS-plastics Inc. in Listowel, Ontario.

“One of the most important ways to keep plastic out of the environment is to place a high value on postconsumer resin.”

“Today, I’m overseeing some of the work done on the procurement side,” Quinn says of her position, “but I’m also involved in business development.” She explains that this means new projects related to expanding the company’s ability to accept new materials and circular sales applications.

Quinn shares her perspectives in the excerpt below.

Recycling Today (RT): What makes EFS-plastics unique from other reclaimers?

Eadaoin Quinn (EQ): EFS does a lot of work on film generated from MRFs (material recovery facilities). In Canada, film has been collected curbside for quite a long time, and EFS has been one of the primary end markets for Canadian curbside film.

RT: How have recycled-content commitments from brands affected business for EFS-plastics?

EQ: It’s really wonderful that the brands are fully engaged with looking for ways to incorporate post-consumer resin into their products. But still, today, the vast majority of our sales are into products that don’t necessarily advertise [that] they include postconsumer resin. Really, the majority of postconsumer resin (PCR) that moves the market today is sold as a cheaper alternative to virgin.

Right now, on April 12, the price of virgin is still quite high. So, in this market, it’s a great time to be a recycler. There’s plenty of room to create a margin that you can comfortably do your recycling process.

RT: What would you like to see the recycling industry look like in three to five years from now?

EQ: I would like to see it explode since there’s so much potential. They say only 9 percent of plastics are recovered in the U.S., and that’s ridiculous. We can’t incrementally change that. We have to think about drastic changes to allow us to get closer to 75 percent recycled. There’s no excuse for 9 percent recycled.

But there’s interest right now [in plastics recycling], and I hope that keeps growing. ... And, to me, one of the most important ways to keep plastic out of the environment is to place a high value on postconsumer resin. ... We have to build strong demand for PCR if we’re going to keep material in circulation and prevent it from being sent to landfill.