Rutland Students receive $30K from Dragon's Den entrepreneurs

Operation Take Two

A group of Rutland Senior Secondary students are tackling plastic waste with innovative solutions.

They stepped into the Dragon's Den to seek investment into Operation Take Two, a youth led initiative that takes plastic waste destine for landfill and transforms it into sustainable products.

“We do that in our plastic recycling workspace, which is in a repurposed shipping container in our courtyard. We have two machines in there, and we shred all the plastic down, melt it and turn it into new objects,” said Ashley Ciardullo, Grade 9 student and Head of Expansion.

The group asked the Dragons for $30,000 for 25 percent of profits.

The show aired last night, with Jim Treliving and Lane Merrifield donating $15,000 each, without stake in their company.

AM1150 spoke with Ciardullo and Marketing Manager, Gurnoor Chawla on Friday about their experience on the show.

“With all of the support from the crew and even the dragons, I felt more confident and I got up and it was great,” said Ciardullo.

“Even at the audition they were very supportive and respectful because normally you go into an audition and it's kind of scary but they made us feel very welcomed and it was very nice to be there,” said Chawla.

Operation Take Two began in 2017 when the school's Interact Club won $5,000 for sustainable development in Kelowna.

“We got our idea from a company in Europe called ‘Precious Plastic’ and they had the idea for the plastic recycling model in a shipping container. Our past president, Keneisha Charles, brought it to the Interact group two years ago and now we have our own adaptation, in our very our courtyard,” said Ciardullo and Chawla.

With the additional $30,000, Chawla detailed what’s next for the group.

“Currently we're working on getting another machine for our workspace and then we want to make another workspace, an Operation Take Two 2.0 if you will somewhere else in B.C., that will also be youth led and volunteer based.”

At the moment, they are using the plastic to make multi-purpose containers, pendants and Christmas ornaments to sell locally.

The girls say they're changing the world one water bottle at a time.