Ben Kneppers (left) and David Stover co-founded Bureo Skateboards, an IDEA venture, which uses recycled plastic waste recovered from Chilean beaches to produce a unique and sustainable skateboard deck.
If one man’s trash really is another man’s treasure, Ben Kneppers, E’07, may have hit the mother lode.

Kneppers, who received his degree in mechanical engineering, hopes to transform a South American country’s trash into a sustainable business, using plastic debris from Chile’s coastal and rural communities to make environmentally friendly skateboards.

Bureo Skateboards, founded by Kneppers and his friend David Stover, won a $40,000 grant from the business accelerator Start-Up Chile, and another $10,000 in gap funding from IDEA, the Northeastern student-run venture accelerator.

Bureo was the only nontech company to receive one of the 85 Start-Up Chile grants. Kneppers calls it a perfect match: Chile gets a cleaner coastline and communities, and Bureo brings quality, sustainable skateboards to the market.

“These guys are an example of our system working at its best,” says IDEA CEO Max Kaye.

“It’s ventures like this that really take full advantage of all of the resources every step of the way. We’re proud to be involved, and we can’t wait to see what the team does down in Chile.”