SENS student, Kanwar Mutti (submitted)

SENS student, Kanwar Mutti, places second in USask EcoHack

Kanwar Mutti, a second-year Master of Sustainable Environmental Management (MSEM) student in the USask School of Environment and Sustainability (SENS) is making big plans for tackling waste reduction as an entrepreneur when she graduates from her program this December.

By Megan Evans
Kanwar Mutti's video presentation on construction waste diversion in the city of Saskatoon.

“I’ve always been interested in waste reduction in one way or another,” Mutti said. “But it truly unfolded with Calgary’s composting and recycling program, when I saw that some close family and friends refused to participate in it. From there, I began to look into the reasons for why this was and found that they neither understood the issue with waste nor the system in place to reduce it. And it’s hard for people to use systems when they don’t fully understand them.”

“Construction waste, for instance, could be reused and recycled or upcycled to divert materials from the landfill,” Mutti said. “This way, we can also reduce the consumption of resources like wood and energy that goes towards making new materials, so we’re doubling the impact in terms of the supply chain for these materials if we use them more wisely.”

This was the premise of her EcoHack solution, as she reviewed the City of Saskatoon’s policies on construction waste and determined that there were some policies the City could adopt to divert construction waste from city landfills. 

Mutti also uses the training from her undergraduate degree in economics to help shape her approach to solving sustainability issues. “I like working with policies, as a way to create lasting and high-impact change.”

“In the future, I think we’ll see more suppliers of construction materials being innovative with recycling their materials, but it’s important to be looking at supply chains wholistically,” said Mutti, who, in addition to her studies in SENS is working as a junior environmental planner with LSA Associates. “Meanwhile, we need to implement waste diversion policies that are clear and share that information in an easily accessible way.”

Mutti is currently working on her final MSEM project, and as she nears the completion of her graduate degree, she is also excited about her future as an entrepreneur. 

“10 years from now, I want to be starting my second company,” Mutti says. “I’m currently working on my patent for reducing plastic waste, and finishing my program here in SENS. I don’t sleep much,” she laughs.

“We need more women leading in the business world. When we enter these spaces, there is often more concern and empathy integrated into our approach, and I think that is critical for social and environmental sustainability.”