Jack Rosen winner Decomp keeps up momentum with 2021 CEC Youth Innovation Challenge title

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Haya EL-MerhebyDecomp, a cross-faculty student venture, was declared winner of the 2021 CEC Youth Innovation Challenge hosted by The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC). Decomp is an organic plastic waste disposal solution that utilizes proprietary, plastic-degrading microbes to facilitate the degradation of plastics in weeks.

The Decomp team, who had previously won both Environment's Jack Rosen pitch competition and the 2021 UW portion of the World’s Challenge Challenge, includes Haya EL-Merheby, a 2nd year Environment, Resources and Sustainability undergraduate student (pictured here). Her work helped the venture stand out in a field of student submissions from Canada, Mexico and the United States.

The fifth installment of the annual challenge focused on the theme of “Climate Change and Environmental Justice Innovations for Resilient Communities.” North American youth aged 18 to 30 were challenged to submit innovative entrepreneurial solutions that can address environmental challenges and create opportunities for communities in Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Decomp’s solution fit the theme perfectly as it addresses plastic waste pollution and the consequences of greenhouse gas associated with it. As they imagine it, Decomp works as an organic plastic waste disposal solution using bioreactor technology to create and maintain the optimal growing conditions for plastic degrading microbes. 

The Decomp team also features:

  • Gabriel Saunders – UW Political Science and Business ’19 and MBET ‘20 (Team Lead)
  • Isabella Daneyko – UW Biomedical Engineering ‘24 
  • Isha Simon – UW Biology ‘22 
  • Munira Lakdawala – UW Chemical Engineering ‘22 
  • Carlton Darby – UW Chemical Engineering ‘22 
  • Sayem Khaliq – UW Biology ‘23 
  • Cheo Bannis – RyersonU Medical Physics ‘21 

Decomp (along with the US and Mexican winners) will present their pitch to the various environment ministers of the three CEC member countries. Brock Dickinson, Environment’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence, and Assistant director of Environment’s Economic Development Program, will be facilitating this session, which is online and open to the public.

Register here and support your classmates on September 10th.

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