Better Together! Meet Amber Cains, an Evergreen “Woman in Recycling”

Women In Recycling is a series created to celebrate team members who are making a difference in recycling at Evergreen. Their stories are told in their words. Enjoy!

I always wanted to be a kindergarten teacher, but when I left college to be a mom, I found a new career path in recycling.

It’s hard to believe I’ve been with Evergreen in Clyde, Ohio, for 14 years! I started in one of the toughest jobs in the plant: sorting bottles. Evergreen recycles two billion plastic bottles each year and back when I started with the company, all of them were sorted by hand by material and color. There wasn’t any lifting; it was just tedious. I was a sorter for a year before being promoted to supervisor. I oversaw the sorting team, which was all women, and the sorting lines. Today, Evergreen uses robots to sort bottles. Thank goodness!

I next went to the lab, where I tested all of the recycled resin that came off our manufacturing lines to make sure it met customer specs. I really enjoyed this job as I’m definitely the type who likes to use my brain.

From there I went to receiving and then human resources. The fact that I’d done pretty much every job at Evergreen made me perfect for HR. I took advantage of Evergreen’s tuition reimbursement program and took classes to expand my HR knowledge. I think my longest position was in HR! One of the reasons is I had a great mentor, our VP of HR Lindsey Krauth. She was always there when I had a question or problem to solve. The entire Evergreen team is like that. We’re a “jump in, all hands on deck” kind of place when someone needs help. We have a great team.

When Evergreen’s logistics coordinator retired, I talked to our management team about taking that role. I have two children at home and my previous position required travel so that didn’t work for me. So now I’m really busy coordinating recyclables coming into our facility and our recycled products going out. We are doubling our manufacturing capacity of recycled PET plastic in 2022 so I’m super excited.

People ask me why I’ve stayed with Evergreen my entire career. It’s two things really. This place is like my second home, and my co-workers feel like family. I’ve never thought about going anywhere else. Second, I like recycling…the idea that used bottles come to us in big bales and we turn them back into material for new bottles is awesome. It makes me feel good about what I’m doing.

And yes, I take my work home with me. (Laughs) My kids are good recyclers; we recycle everything. My husband, kids, and our dog Achilles are very outdoorsy. We hike and rollerblade. I paint and watch cartoons with my son. And when Achilles wants a snack, he gives me a Husky howl. Kids!

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