By Brooke Ortel
Patagonia’s $20 Million & Change fund was launched in 2013 to help innovative, like-minded startups bring about solutions to the environmental crisis and other positive change through business. Or, in Yvon’s words, to help entrepreneurs and innovators succeed in “working with nature rather than using it up.” Today, we’re introducing you to one of those companies, Bureo, a fellow B Corporation and member of 1% for the Planet.
From his cabin in Cocholgüe, Ben Kneppers can see the ocean. An American entrepreneur from Cape Cod, Ben is an unlikely resident of this small coastal community in the south of Chile. He is a co-founder of Bureo, an innovative company that transforms discarded fishing nets into recycled products. In Chile, Ben works on the ground overseeing Bureo’s Net Positiva initiative, the recycling program that is the foundation of their business. Through Net Positiva, Bureo facilitates the collection of discarded nets to obtain the raw materials necessary to manufacture sunglasses and sidewalk cruiser skateboards while simultaneously reducing plastic pollution.
Above: Bureo co-founders Ben Kneppers (left) and Kevin Ahearn (right) display the amount of fishing net that’s recycled into each Bureo skateboard through Net Positiva, Bureo’s fishing net collection and recycling program. Santiago, Chile. Photo: Kevin Ahearn