Science students part of winning youth challenge team

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

A student project to reduce plastic waste was recently chosen as the Canadian winner of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation’s (CEC) Youth Innovation Challenge.

This project, called Decomp, is a start-up based out of the St. Paul's Greenhouse Social Impact Incubator at Waterloo. Decomp has developed an organic plastic waste disposal solution, and seeks to genetically engineer proprietary plastic-degrading microbes that are able to degrade plastics in weeks.

Decomp received $15,000 in seed funding and the opportunity to present its project to North America’s top environmental officials at the CEC’s 2021 Council Session.

Decomp members include Science students Isha Simon and Sayem Khaliq, both biology students in their 4A terms.

Isha Simon and Sayen Khaliq

The focus of the fifth annual challenge was Climate Change and Environmental Justice Innovations for Resilient Communities. North American youth aged 18 to 30 were invited to submit innovative entrepreneurial solutions that addressed environmental challenges and created opportunities for communities in Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Other Decomp team members are Founder, Gabriel Saunders (ARBUS '19, MBET ’20), a Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Engineering alumnus, Haya EL-Merheby, a Waterloo Faculty of Environment student, Isabella Daneyko, Carlton Darby and Munira Lakdawala, Waterloo Faculty of Engineering students, and Cheo Bannis, a Ryerson University alumnus.