Erika Daley, 27
Business Development Manager
PreZero US Inc.
Erika Daley was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and graduated with honors from Mount Allison University with a Bachelor of Science with a major in chemistry and minor in biochemistry and from the University of Toronto with a Master of Science in chemistry. She was also the co-chair of the Green Chemistry Initiative and the founding treasurer at the Women in Chemistry Initiative University of Toronto.
She started her career in San Diego with a nonprofit organization "focused on making science more sustainable," she said. Then she led the design and publication for "A Guide to Green Chemistry Experiments for Undergraduate Organic Chemistry Labs" in 2017-18.
In October 2018, Daley was recognized with International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories' "Go Beyond" Award for her commitment to sustainability in laboratory and other high-technology facility projects. Daley joined Resource Management Group Inc., acquired by San Diego-based recycling company PreZero US Inc., which provides end market solutions to waste generators and collectors, "to develop and manage specialized recycling programs for hospitals and laboratory-based facilities."
Daley moved to the Innovation and Expansion team at PreZero in June 2019 to manage the countrywide expansion of plastics recycling facilities.
She belongs to the Network for Early Career Sustainable Scientists and Engineers and Allied Climbers of San Diego. Davey attends events for the Western Plastics Association, Association of Plastics Recyclers, Sustainable Brands, Circularity and Women in Solid Waste and Recycling.
Plastics News: Greatest achievement?
Daley: The greatest achievement so far in my career was being awarded the Go Beyond Award from the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL). I was humbled and speechless to receive that high of recognition from that audience. It really framed what I had been working tirelessly at and what I care so much about.
Q: Biggest failure and what it taught you?
Daley: I really don't believe in failures. I've had a lot of things in my life that have not gone according to plan, or not turned out how I expected, but I've learned from each one of those and used them as an opportunity to grow. I've learned to be patient, believe in myself and to never give up — the best things take time to grow and are worth fighting for.
Q: What is your philosophy related to plastics and sustainability? What steps have you taken to improve plastics' sustainability, either in work, your community or personal life?
Daley: My philosophy related to plastics and sustainability is that we should always be aiming to move towards circularity. I am also always mindful of the complete life cycle of the plastic or other topic of consideration – environmental, social and economical impacts.
Q: What emerging technology or market most interests you?
Daley: I am currently fascinated by chemical recycling (or "advanced recycling") technologies that have been popping up, and startups in this space. Although, I recognize that I am biased because what chemist who works in recycling wouldn't find looking at the molecular level super interesting?
Q: What job do you really want to have in the future?
Daley: My dream job in the future would be the CEO of a purpose-driven company that leverages science, sustainability, education and collaboration to tackle the most challenges issues of our time, and turn them into a profitable business that will change our world. I don't know exactly where or what that will be, but that's the general direction I am aiming for.