Gurnoor Chawla and Ashley Ciardullo are part of the Operation Take Two team. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)

Okanagan students win big after innovative idea impresses CBC’s Dragons

Rutland Senior Secondary students in Kelowna turn trash into treasure with Operation Take Two

A team of Rutland Senior Secondary students successfully pitched their idea to the big leagues.

Ashley Ciardullo was one of the students who appeared in CBC’s Dragons’ Den. She and her teammates presented their project, Operation Take Two in the spring and the episode premiered Nov. 7.

“Operation Take Two is a youth-led social enterprise revolutionizing the global issue of by empowering communities to turn their trash into treasure,” Ciardullo said.

But how does it work?

“We do this with our plastic recycling workspace, which is in a repurposed shipping container and we take all of the plastic recycling from the school. We put it all into these two machines, shred it down, melt it down and turn it into new objects.”

ALSO READ: More e-scooters roll into Kelowna as micro-mobility market heats up

For now, the machines make multi-purpose containers out of the plastic products. The workspace is operated out of the school’s courtyard and is manned by student volunteers.

The Operation Take Two team first entered the Sustainable Development Challenge in Kelowna, which they won. Ciardullo said that was the first push they needed to really develop the idea and bring it to Dragons’ Den.

The team went into the Dragons’ Den seeking $30,000. They ended up partnering with Lane Merrifield and Jim Treviling and receiving the deal. They also received another $30,000 from GoodSpark Desjardins.

WATCH: Dragon’s Den auditions hosted in Kelowna

Sharing the idea on the show has helped them gain more traction and support, according to Ciardullo.

She added they have big plans for the project, including expanding the initiative within the community as well as establishing other workspaces.

Gurnoor Chawla is the marketing manager for the project and she said they’re also planning on expanding the range of products their machines are producing.

ALSO READ: UBC Okanagan exhibit to highlight history of gender and sexuality

“At the moment we have three products coming up. There’s a hexagonal bowl container, a pendant that is made entirely out of Solo cups and a Christmas ornament, which is coming up for the holidays,” Chawla said.

She added they will be selling the products at the Christmas markets in town.

Chawla said they will also be releasing a survey to find out what other products people would like to see from them.

For more information, visit their website.


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