British Columbia

Kelowna students pitch plastic recycling business on Dragons' Den

The seven students are seeking investment for Operation Take Two, a plastic recycling facility housed inside a 12-metre steel shipping container.

The students are seeking investment for a plastic recycling facility housed inside a shipping container

The project is led by current and former students from Kelowna's Rutland Senior Secondary, including Keneisha Charles, second to right. (Dragons' Den/CBC)

A group of Kelowna, B.C., students is hoping to expand their plastic recycling business by pitching it to a national audience on CBC's Dragons' Den. 

Current and former students from Rutland Senior Secondary will face on Thursday night a panel of venture capitalists — termed the "dragons" — on the popular reality TV series, which has aired since 2006.

"We're very nervous to be there, but there's also a level of excitement," said Keneisha Charles, who graduated from the school last year and is now studying social work at Ryerson University.

"To take project from something that just started in our school, to be able to share it with all of Canada was incredibly exciting for us."

 

The seven students are seeking investment for Operation Take Two, a plastic recycling facility housed inside a 12-metre steel shipping container in Kelowna.

Items that end up in blue bins are sometimes non-recyclable or not properly cleaned, a term known as contamination. B.C. has a contamination rate of about six per cent.

To tackle the problem, volunteers collect plastic waste from the Kelowna school and take it to the container facility, where it's cleaned, sorted and shredded into small flakes.

The volunteers use an oven and moulds to create and sell new items, such as plant pots and reusable grocery bags. The group is hoping to eventually operate more pop-up facilities.

"The great thing about plastic is it's so versatile," Charles said, noting the group is experimenting with moulds to settle on a product that's valuable and long lasting.

The program has already raised more than $32,000 in grants and donations.

The group flew to Toronto in May to audition for the show, but can't yet reveal whether the dragons are on board or not. They asked the investors for $30,000 in exchange for 25 per cent of the business.

Charles says she'll be watching the episode Thursday night with her sister.

With files from Daybreak South

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