Jacqueline O’Donovan honoured in King’s Birthday Awards

A leading figure in the United Kingdom’s waste management and recycling industry has been included in King Charles III’s Birthday Honours list.

Jacqueline O’Donovan, managing director of London-based O’Donovan Waste Disposal, was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in recognition of her services to recycling, safety and industry.

Jacqueline O'Donovan OBE Jacqueline O’Donovan became managing director of the family-run business at the age of 10. Photo: O’Donovan Waste Disposal

“I cannot express how honoured I am at being recognised with this OBE,” said Jacqueline, who became MD of the company at the age of 19 following the unexpected death of her father in 1985.

Since then the company’s turnover has grown from £175,000 (US$223,500) to more than £20 million ($25.6 million), while implementing a raft of safety and environmental practices that have influenced other parts of the recycling sector. It was acquired by Swedish construction and demolition waste services business Sortera in 2022.

“To come from such humble beginnings, and to leave school with little to no qualifications and do a job that I absolutely love in an amazing transforming industry is such a surreal feeling,” Jacqueline said.

“Having attended local state junior and senior schools and recalling my teachers telling me to listen or I wouldn’t get a job, makes me chuckle, and proves that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

“To wake up on Saturday morning to messages of congratulations from Lords, Professors and many friends and colleagues is a dream come true.”

Jacqueline’s profile is well-recognised in the UK and Ireland business community where she has received various accolades for her work, including

  • PwC UK Private Businesswoman of the Year
  • Growing Business Awards Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Building Awards Female Leader
  • Institute of Directors Family Director of the Year Award.

Jacqueline was also a speaker at the 2017 World Demolition Summit in London.

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