Deplastify the Planet

Advanced Topics in Entrepreneurship & Innovation

INDENG 190E/290

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Class Description

The world is drowning in plastic that we've created, most of which takes hundreds of years to decompose. It is a disaster choking our oceans, poisoning our food chains and clogging our landfills. To solve this problem, we must find ways to replace or at least reduce plastic in manufacturing, to reuse, recycle or re-purpose plastic currently in use, to rescue discarded plastic from oceans or landfills, and to dispose of plastic responsibly.

For this course, we find companies that want to achieve the same and will partner with SCET and Schoolab around this problem. Each company prepares a “deplastify challenge” based on their own business, and will be given student teams that work together to develop an entrepreneurial solution. Supported by representatives from their partner companies, students will work to understand the industry and challenge, then design prototypes and pitch their final solutions. Past company sponsors include Whole Foods, Faurecia Automotive, Microsoft, Allbirds, Nestle, Recology SF, Method, Bank of the West, Surfrider Foundation, Samsung and more!

The course will cover ethnographic interviewing, design thinking, ideation tools, designing and prototyping products, validation with customer feedback, and business modeling.


Students from all majors, both undergraduate and graduate are welcome and encouraged. Preference will be given to masters-level students, seniors and juniors with experience or demonstrated interest in corporate innovation, intrapreneurship, startups, product & process design and sustainability. In order to form the class with the appropriate mix of students, all students must fill out an application. See the application link below to submit the google form. The instructor will review applications closer to the start of the semester and you will be notified if you have been admitted or not. If admitted, you will be given permission to enroll.


Mathieu Aguesse is the CEO of Schoolab San Francisco, a global innovation studio. Mathieu is also a lecturer at UC Berkeley, teaching the Deplastify the Planet class at the Sutardja Center. At Schoolab, Mathieu has also served as a Corporate Program Manager and Open Innovation Program Director, helping to build an ecosystem to design and deliver great innovations to market. Mathieu was also a co-founder of his own award-winning startup, Ecoop, which creates a direct to consumers marketplace for organic and independent farmers, leveraging a community-oriented supply chain solution based on gamification and algorithms. Mathieu's educational background includes degrees in engineering design and business.



Deplastify the Planet is a one-of-a-kind project-based class offered jointly by the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (SCET) and Schoolab, a global innovation studio, where students work with real-world companies with a single goal in mind – ‘deplastify’ the planet.


Spring 2021 Projects



How might we find a way to give a second life to our makeup containers that are too small to be recycled with the existing system?


International Flavors & Fragrances

How might the performance of a new biobased textile fiber address key challenges for a circular textile industry?


International Flavors & Fragrances

How might renewable and biodegradable material innovation address sustainability needs in the durable toy product space?



How might we reduce the amount of overwrapping plastic used for packaging?



How might we reduce plastic packaging used to ship car parts?



How might we introduce Bio sourced plastic (or PU replacement) in sensors and actuators in the automobile industry?



How might we reduce waste generated in home construction?

Undisclosed Partner

How might we influence the design of electric car parts in order to implement an efficient circular economy model for aftersales?

Deplastify Class on Recology San Francisco Tour


View current and previous class offerings of Advanced Topics in Entrepreneurship & Innovation.

Refer to our Courses page for a full list of SCET courses and current class offerings

and our Certificate page for more information on our Certificate in Entrepreneurship & Technology.


Contact SCET Academic Program Manager Michelle Lee at for additional questions.