A Castlegar youth is doing more than just worrying about the environment — he’s got big plans to help save the planet.
Myles Peterson, 17, is a Grade 12 student with dreams of starting a recycling company that is part business, part social enterprise and part environmental recovery.
If Peterson succeeds, Terracore Plastics will have operations based in Chennai, India, where it will recycle PET plastics using a chemical process he created.
Peterson travelled to India in 2019 to attend a friend’s wedding. What he saw there was single-use plastic bottles piled up everywhere.
The combination of plastic waste, poverty and mass manufacturing in the region got him to thinking that he could use his ideas to do some good while still making a profit.
“My parents never had much money, and when I visited India, there was polution, and so many poor people there — I put it all together in my mind, did some research and came up with this,” said Peterson.
Peterson says his chemical method is more efficient than the typical heat processes used in most recycling plants. He says that while some companies use similar processes, his is unique.
The plastic will be processed into pellets which can then be sold to any company making products out of recycled plastics.
“It is not just cheaper to process than using heat, it is cheaper to manufacture products [from the recycled pellets] than making virgin plastic directly from oil … reducing CO2 emissions,” said Peterson.
Peterson is looking to raise $1.4 million to get the company off the ground. He already has pledges for the first $200,000 and has been in conversations with some international venture capital investors. There is also a Kickstarter campaign.
While he tries to raise the money, Peterson is also working on the legalities to get the company going both in Canada and India. He hopes to have that stage done by this summer.
Peterson has gathered some partners including people with connections in India who can help with logistical and language-barrier issues. But Peterson is working on his Punjabi and Hindi in his spare time.
Peterson has been developing his entrepreneurial spirit for a while. In 2018 he was the runner up for the regional Junior Dragon’s Den competition. While Peterson didn’t have enough money to follow through with the project he proposed, a British University has since had success with the same idea he presented.
If Peterson’s recycling dreams fail to come to fruition, he also has an ambitious back-up plan. He has already been accepted to the University of Alberta, where he would study immunology and eventually become a doctor.