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Our Team

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Allen Langdon – Chief Executive Officer

As CEO, Allen is responsible for leading Circular Materials through the development of Ontario’s new blue box recycling system while expanding the organization’s operations into other provinces, starting with New Brunswick. His mission is to support producers with a robust not-for-profit service offering that advances the circular economy, delivers national harmonization of extended producer responsibility (EPR) services and harnesses competitive procurement to provide the best value for producers.

Prior to joining Circular Materials, Allen served as the President and CEO of Return-It, British Columbia’s very successful used beverage container management program in Canada. In this role, Allen oversaw the modernization of Return-It’s collection network, which consists of more than 170 collection sites, including Return-It depots, Express Plus and Express & GO stations. Return-It has routinely exceeded a 75% recovery rate for used beverage containers in British Columbia, and its network has supported the collection of new materials, including waste electrical and electronic equipment.

Allen also served as the Managing Director for Recycle BC, the first 100% EPR program for paper and packaging in North America where industry assumed full financial and managerial responsibility for the residential recycling system.

Allen currently serves as a Board member of the National Zero Waste Council, Advisory Council Member for the Canada Plastics Pact, and Advisory Board Member for the Washington State Recycling Development Centre.

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Elena Zevakhina – Chief Financial Officer

As CFO, Elena provides executive leadership and leads the organization’s financial management and administrative operations. Elena is responsible for implementing data-driven strategies and processes to ensure compliance with legal, accounting and treasury policies and supports Circular Materials’ fiduciary responsibility.

As Circular Materials’ Chief Financial Officer, Elena provides executive leadership and leads the organization’s financial management and administrative operations.  Elena is responsible for implementing data-driven strategies and processes to ensure compliance with legal, accounting and treasury policies and supports Circular Materials’ fiduciary responsibility. Prior to joining Circular Materials, Elena was the Chief Financial Officer at Return-It, British Columbia’s successful used beverage container management program. In this role, Elena led the organization’s financial reporting, planning, budgeting, information technology (IT) and risk management strategy. 

Elena has a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Laurentian University and a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) Canada designation.

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Baljit Lalli – Chief Communications Officer

As CCO at Circular Materials, Baljit Lalli is responsible for leading the organization’s communications strategy, including advancing corporate marketing, customer relations and stakeholder relations strategies in support of the organization’s goals and objectives.

Prior to joining Circular Materials, Bal was the Vice President of Corporate Communications and Stakeholder Relations at Return-It, British Columbia’s successful used beverage container management program in Canada. At Return-It, Bal oversaw the organization’s stakeholder relations, corporate communications, and customer relations strategy. Bal also led the development and ongoing implementation of the organization’s social purpose of fostering a world where nothing is waste.

Prior to Return-It, Bal worked in the beverage and natural resources sector creating and delivering a wide range of innovative initiatives that protect and enhance corporate and product reputations. Bal has extensive experience in advancing stakeholder partnerships and leading media relations, corporate communications, crisis communications, and global rebranding initiatives.

Bal serves as a Board Director of Burnaby Family Life and Council Member of the Salvation Army – Vancouver Harbor Light. Bal has a Bachelor of Applied Sciences, Honors Program from Simon Fraser University and Executive Certificate in General Management from the University of British Columbia.

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Alex Chan – Vice President, Data and Program Performance

As the Vice President, Data and Program Performance, Alex Chan provides executive leadership in leading and developing the organization’s BI roadmap and data services strategy in support of the organization’s strategic objectives. Alex leads the delivery of data intelligence, quantitative modelling and analytics services within the organization.

Alex is a data and analytics leader with over 15 years of experience in building BI and analytics competencies within organizations and delivering strategic value to business unit partners. This includes managing and disseminating relevant data and reporting to stakeholders that generate actionable insights and enable decision-making. 

Prior to joining Circular Materials, Alex worked in the waste management industry where he successfully established himself as a strategic business partner in recycling operations. He led the design and deployment of analytical tools and reporting packages that provide lenses into business health and performance drivers, and informed sales & operations planning, market intelligence and research. 

In addition, Alex has worked in industries such as CPG, management consulting and digital media. Alex also has extensive experience working within the extended producer responsibility industry where he had key analytical roles in program plan designs and the operationalization of stewardship programs. 

Alex has a Masters of Management Analytics degree from Queen’s University and a Masters of Business Administration degree from McGill University.

Strategic Advisors

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Glenda Gies – Co-Lead (Strategy and Operations)

Glenda is a policy, governance, and recycling specialist with more than 40 years of experience supporting municipal governments, regulatory authorities, and producers with the development of recycling programs.

From 1979 to 1989, Glenda worked with Durham Region and its eight lower tier municipalities to introduce recycling services to residents and businesses across the Region. Between 1989 and 1992, Glenda implemented the first household food waste collection program to support research that led to a patented Canadian in-vessel composting technology.

In April 2003, Glenda joined Waste Diversion Ontario as Executive Director, providing oversight of industry funding organizations in the development and implementation of diversion programs under the Waste Diversion Act, 2002 until December 2010.

From 2011 to 2016, Glenda led project teams to develop an extended producer responsibility program for residential packaging and printed paper for Multi-Material British Columbia (now Recycle BC) and a shared responsibility stewardship program for residential packaging and printed paper for Multi-Material Stewardship Western.

From November 2016, to July, 2020, Glenda chaired the Board of Directors of the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority, the delegated administrative authority responsible for overseeing the wind up of industry funding organizations and enforcement of individual producer responsibility in Ontario.

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Usman Valiante – Co-Lead (Commercial Strategy and Policy)

Usman is a senior policy analyst and commercial strategist with 27 years of experience in the fields of environmental science and economics, corporate and commercial strategy, public policy, regulatory and institutional design, advocacy, negotiation, consultation and communications.

Today, Usman is the Implementation Co-Lead for Circular Materials as well as a Technical Advisor to the Canada Plastics Pact.

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Shane Buckingham - Strategic Communications and Producer Relations Lead

Shane is a strategic communications professional and policy specialist with more than a decade of experience working in federal and provincial politics, print media and industry.

In government, he served as the press secretary to Canada’s Environment Minister and communicated major announcements, including the release of Canada’s 2030 emissions target.

At Queen’s Park, Shane was a communications and policy advisor for the Official Opposition. In this role, Shane provided strategic advice on responding to government regulatory proposals and bills, including the Waste Reduction Act in 2013 and the Waste-Free Ontario Act in 2016.

After politics, Shane was Director of Communications at the Ontario Waste Management Association and the Senior Director of Sustainability at the Canadian Beverage Association. In his role at the CBA, Shane represented the beverage sector in Ontario’s Blue Box Mediation Process in 2019 and the province’s Producer Blue Box Working Group in 2020/21.

Prior to politics, Shane was a journalist. He covered municipal politics for the St. Catharines Standard and wrote for a national consumer magazine about real estate investing and market trends.

Shane is a Director on the Board of the Alberta Beverage Container Recycling Corporation and has served in this role since April 2018.

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Daniel Lantz – Recycling Operations Specialist

Dan is a recycling expert with more than 30 years’ experience in the operation of material recovery facilities (MRFs) both in Canada and the United States. He spent six years as the Vice President of Operations for Cascades Recovery, overseeing single stream and multi-stream MRFs across Canada, including the commissioning of the City of Calgary and Durham Region MRFs.

Dan has completed numerous MRF operations optimization projects for public and private sector clients across Canada and the U.S., increasing throughput and product quality while reducing the cost of operations. These projects resulted in millions of dollars in operational savings.

Dan served as the Director of Technical Services at Stewardship Ontario, where he played an instrumental role on the team that developed the first Blue Box Program Plan in Ontario in 2002.

Dan was the strategic advisor to the Canadian Plastics Industry Association for almost 30 years and has acted as advisor to the Paper and Paperboard Packaging Environmental Council since 1991.

Dan served as the Chief Operating Officer for Green by Nature, which included the development and oversight of the operations of all facilities across British Columbia in the transition from municipally run to privately run post-collection.

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Chris van Rossem – Technical and Implementation Advisor

Chris is an international expert in the circular economy and product-focused environmental management, policy, programs and tools, including; extended producer responsibility (EPR), design for environment (DfE), life cycle analysis (LCA), environmental product communication, end-of-life management, environmental management systems (EMS), and environmental performance indicators.

Chris has extensive experience with environmental data management, municipal recycling programs, product stewardship consultation, EPR program development and regulatory oversight.

Chris is currently a Technical Advisor to the Canada Plastics Pact. He has a PhD in Industrial Environmental Economics from the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE) at Lund University, Sweden.

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Robert Cook - Strategic Advisor, Waste Management

Robert (Rob) Cook has over 36 years of experience in providing strategic advice in the development, implementation and oversight of public policy and operations projects, with a particular focus on waste management.

As the owner of Robert Cook Consulting, Rob has been involved in a considerable number of policy, planning, and operational projects including a major project for the Missanabie Cree First Nation (MCFN) to develop an integrated waste management system for a new reserve in northern Ontario and a waste disposal project (ongoing) for a private company and upper-tier municipality.

Prior to founding Robert Cook Consulting, Rob served as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the Ontario Waste Management Association, where he managed all Association programs and activities generating $1.2 million in revenue. As CEO, Rob ensured that Association goals and objectives were realized and that ‘value-added’ membership service was always provided.

Throughout his career, Rob has established a track record of collaborating effectively with stakeholders. Rob worked closely with multiple jurisdictions and with various stakeholders including large and small businesses and local governments including First Nation communities.

Rob has a broad understanding of municipal issues associated with Blue Box transition, particularly collection and infrastructure, and a broad understanding of private sector viewpoints related to procurement.

Rob has been intimately involved in the development of EPR framework legislation, the creation of regulations for all WDA and RRCEA programs including the Blue Box regulation. Rob also spearheaded on-the-ground advocacy and interaction with the MECP relative to the full range of waste sector issues and challenges including program regulations under the WDA and RRCEA.