“I kind of dropped my suitcase and went into plastic recycling — and I’ve now been involved in the industry for the past 10 years,” he says.
Schieir looks back at his time at JMSB fondly, noting the vast network he developed. He remains close with Jonathan Berke, MBA 09, a published researcher on sustainability and leadership strategies who serves as vice-president of the Solution Centre at Rizing HCM.
Berke was one of the original co-founders of the John Molson Sustainable Business Group.
Schieir adds that his studies at JMSB helped him develop a business literacy that serves him well in his current employment, where he leads a team that works across numerous jurisdictions and supply chains.
“It allowed me to engage these markets with an understanding of the various disciplines within business work,” says Schieir.
Keeping oceans clean
In Schieir’s view, the next step in addressing ocean plastic writ large is to raise the public’s understanding of the issue. He believes that from there, the demand for products that are sourced from at-risk areas will grow. Bantam Materials is already supplying grocery stores in the European market, with an eye on expanding into North America.
“The main thing that we need now is for consumers to start identifying a preference for products in recycled packaging and prevented-ocean plastic,” says Schieir, adding that the Prevented Ocean Plastic Program has third-party certification through OceanCycle.
Reflecting on his career path, Schieir says he is grateful to be running a business that helps keep plastic out of our oceans.
“I wanted to find a way to run a business that supports my family and allows me to have interesting work,” he says. “I wanted a business that does more good than harm.”