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Our Founder

Emmie Leung - Emterra Group Founder and CEO - Environmental Waste Management Canada

Meet Emmie Leung

Entrepreneur. Innovator.

“I have a strong personal belief that there is value in everything and in everyone. That belief, coupled with an entrepreneurial spirit compels me to view challenges not as barriers, but as opportunities, and enabled me to build Emterra from a small, local curbside collector of cardboard into what it is today – one of the largest integrated resource management companies serving Canadians.”  - Emmie Leung

At the helm of the Emterra Group is Emmie Leung who oversees the overall operations, performance against key indicators and growth of the group of companies. Emmie has a knack for finding opportunities and building on them. 

She founded the original company, International Paper Industries (IPI) in 1976 in Vancouver soon after graduating from the University of Manitoba with a BA in Commerce. She got the idea to start collecting used cardboard and other printed papers when she was walking around her Winnipeg neighbourhood one day and noticed that businesses were discarding these “valuable resources.” She moved to Vancouver to be closer to core transportation hubs and from that point on she has been a pioneer in the recycling and waste diversion industry in Canada. 

IPI in its infancy was a one-person business – Emmie.  She performed every job from driving the collection truck to sorting and baling materials, to operating the forklift to marketing and bookkeeping. When IPI started to expand into the municipal recycling services business, Emmie instigated the first ever ‘blue bag’ program to collect recyclables, a system that continues to be used in some municipalities throughout Canada.  This early hands-on experience gave her insight into all aspects of the waste handling business, knowledge that she continues to draw upon today as CEO of the Emterra Group.

With the success of IPI as her launching platform, she expanded into Ontario in 1995 under the name Halton Recycling Ltd. and into Manitoba in 2003. Next she acquired a tire recycling operation, now Emterra Tire Recycling, and then a stale-dated and off-spec liquid disposal and consumer products destruction facility, Canadian Liquids Processors Ltd. Have a look at our corporate growth timeline.

See some of Emmie's awards and honours


  • EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Special Citation for Pioneering Contributions
  • EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Ontario 2014 award for Energy and Cleantech 
  • Canadian Waste Sector Executive of the Year in the large private business category by the Ontario Waste Management Association, 2013
  •  Entrepreneur of the Year Award by the Association of Chinese Canadian Entrepreneurs, 2013
  • Rosie Award by Waste & Recycling News in recognition of women in business, 2012.
  • Environmental Award for Personal Achievement by Recycling Council of British Columbia, 2012.
  • Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in recognition of outstanding and exemplary contributions to the community and to Canada as a whole, 2003.
  • McGill Management Achievement Award for Outstanding Success in Personal Endeavours Promoting and Advancing Canadian Business and Significant Contribution to Community Affairs, 1999.
  • Winner of “Canada Award for Excellence” by Industry Canada and National Quality Institute in Entrepreneurship, 1996.
  • Canadian delegate to the United Nation’s Fourth World Conference on Women, in Beijing, 1996.
  • The Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Award in Recognition of Significant Contribution to Compatriots, Community and to Canada by the Governor General of Canada, 1993.
  • Honour Role by McLean’s Magazine, 1993.
  • Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Award – Impact On Local Economy, 1992.