The water bottle you carry around with you is Profusion’s most important asset.
“We get plastic bottles and we have our own machinery that we made – a shredder and an injection – and we take the plastic, shred it and then melt it into molds,” said Antonis Byros (Year 7).
Byros, along with John Leyson (Year 7), Aliki Stavrou (Year 7), George Kosta (Year 7), Stefanos Malinen (Year 6), Loukas Papachristoforou (Year 7), Stavros Savva (Year 7) and Pantelis Koshias (Year 6), comprise the start-up company Profusion, that is competing in this year’s Junior Achievement Cyprus competition.
“Profusion means abundance or a large quantity of something. The word fusion, in and of itself, means combining one or more things to make one thing, and the first three letters of the word stand for Plastic Recycling Organisation,” Stavrou explained.
This marks the fourth year that the American Academy Larnaca is participating in the Pancyprian competition promoting entrepreneurship.
The problem that the team is tackling is one it holds close to heart, especially because the school promotes a strong eco-conscious ethos.
“We see in school that everyone’s holding a bottle of water which eventually goes to the recycling bin,” Stavrou said.
Companies like Green Dot have done a tremendous job in cultivating a recycling culture in Cyprus, but the plastic that is collected is sent abroad for recycling. The team saw this as opportunity, especially since there is an abundance of plastic as a raw material, just from the school alone.
“We wanted to give value to plastic,” Byros explained. “Through research we found methods of processing plastic at a small scale, we created our own machines and we now have a product.”
The company has launched a series of coasters and keyrings, made from a 100% upcycled plastic, and is also open to creating custom orders in the future, since the equipment has been custom-built by members of the team.
“The machinery we have now is for a small production, but we have the potential to scale this,” Byros said.
Building the machinery from scratch was no easy feat, but the team counts this among the most valuable lessons learned from participating in the competition.
“You learn to set up your goal and to push yourself until you finish,” said Kosta. “You focus on the end goal.”
For any company, good coordination and teamwork are two of the most important elements to success, and the team understood this from the word go.
“There are so many tasks – if you don’t break them down to smaller tasks, you won’t have a good result,” Byros said. “We’re really proud of our results – the final product is a really beautiful final product.”
You can follow all of Profusion’s updates here.