Kelowna students take on planet's plastic waste problem - InfoNews

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Kelowna students take on planet's plastic waste problem

Operation Take Two members Keneisha Charles, Theresa Schwab and Aaliyah Charles (left to right) pose outside the repurposed shipping container that houses their project.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Justin Schneider
June 05, 2019 - 9:20 AM

KELOWNA - Kelowna students are taking aim at the problem of plastic waste with Operation Take Two, a plastic recycling facility that turns trash into treasure.

"We had a vision of a way for students to directly take action on plastic waste while learning new skills and contributing directly to their community," said Keneisha Charles, a Grade 12 learner at Rutland Senior Secondary and one of the founding members of Operation Take Two.

"The support for our idea has been overwhelming and we are very grateful to the many community groups and corporate sponsors who made our vision a reality."

Aaliyah operates the shredder to break down a plastic cup.
Aaliyah operates the shredder to break down a plastic cup.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Justin Schneider

Operation Take Two puts all the machines and tools needed to recycle plastic waste into a repurposed shipping container. Student volunteers will transform plastic waste normally sent to a landfill into practical items such as plant pots, 3D printer filament, and reusable grocery bags. The sale of the items generates a profit to ensure the project’s sustainability and creates potential to both expand the project to new cities and invest in other community youth-led initiatives.

"Central Okanagan Public Schools empowers our learners to thrive in a rapidly changing world," says Kevin Kaardal, Superintendent of Schools/CEO. "We are very proud of these young innovators because they saw a global problem and collaborated with their community to create a local solution. They've created a legacy project that will in turn empower other learners long after they graduate."

The team of students began developing the project in 2017, collaborating with 13 community groups, including the University Of British Columbia Okanagan Campus School Of Engineering and the Okanagan College Enactus Club.

They also received corporate sponsorship from Big Steel Box to supply their state-of-the-art workspace, bringing the project’s total to over $40,000 in grants, donations, and in-kind donations. The project began making waves beyond the Okanagan when the team won an audition to appear CBC’s hit reality show Dragon’s Den earlier this year.

Posing with some of the products they've made.
Posing with some of the products they've made.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Justin Schneider

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