Theresa Schawab, one of the founders of ‘Operation Take Two’ photo taken by Laryn Gilmour/Black Press Media

VIDEO: Highschool students take plastic recycling enterprise to ‘Dragons Den’

Rutland Senior Secondary girls present ‘Operation Take Two’

Students from Rutland Senior Secondary in Kelowna took their self-operational plastic recycling facility to CBC’s Dragon’s Den in Toronto.

The students can’t say the outcome of the pitch, since it hasn’t yet aired but their innovative social enterprise caught the eye of the dragons when they came to Kelowna and the students got the opportunity to present “Operation Take Two,” a solution to plastic waste pollution.

READ MORE: Curbside recycling program in Central Okanagan remain

“Operation Take Two is an initiative to help people rethink the way we look at our waste. We do this with our plastic recycling work space which will have two machines, one to shred the plastic and another to melt the plastics into a mould to make versatile storage containers,” Operation Take Two founder Theresa Schwab said.

The enterprise started in 2017 by a small group of students after winning over $32,000 in grants and donations and now the students built their first plastic recycling facility, which will soon be operational.

The facility is located within a modified 40-ft. shipping container donated by local company BigSteelBox and fitted to serve as a self-operational plastic recycling plant, which will be available to community members year-round.

READ MORE: ‘There is no market for it,’ Kelowna apartment recycling takes a hit

“The students are involved with an ‘Interact Club’ which is a rotarian-sponsored club here in the schools. My father is a rotarian, and he said to me, ‘I have to meet these girls and see what they are doing,’” BigSteelBox’s director of operations Brian Hawkins said.

”They came to BigSteelBox Structures with a power-point presentation, it was very professional and after they left, we all looked at each other and said, ‘we have to get involved.’ They had everything they needed, except for a work space, and we had the container and the ability to modify it, so we said, ‘let’s give them away to get a jump start and do a service to our community as well.’”

READ MORE: Recycling ambassadors head back to Okanagan streets

Students from middle schools in the region get the opportunity to be involved in the environmentally sustaining initiative through Interact Club.

“I have always wanted to find a way to help the environment, but never knew how to find it. This gives me a way to do that and feel like I’m a part of something,” Interact Club member Ashley Coardullo said.

Operation Take Two will air on Dragon’s Den this fall.


@LarynGilmour
laryn.gilmour@blackpress.ca

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