Deplastify the Planet: How to Master the Sustainable Transition

ENGIN 183/283 · Special Topics in Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship · 3 Units

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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. Each student will be working with an industry partner, mostly large corporations as well as startups. Past company sponsors include Whole Foods, Faurecia Automotive, Microsoft, Allbirds, Nestle, Recology SF, Method, Bank of the West, Surfrider Foundation, Samsung and more!

We explore the fundamentals of the plastic problem and broaden the discussion on sustainability and what it takes to improve practices across industries. The course will cover ethnographic interviewing, design thinking, ideation tools, designing and prototyping products, validation with customer feedback, and business modeling. This will offer a real life experience as well as placing the student in a consulting mode, helping them to develop skills and learn how to work efficiently in a pluri disciplinary team.



Mathieu Aguesse is a French entrepreneur, dedicated to innovation and education on impact-driven topics. He successfully launched the first open innovation class dedicated to solving plastic pollution, a program called Deplastify the Planet with SCET. At Haas, he is now running a class called Equitable Design, which leverages the power of design to solve challenges related to diversity, equity and inclusion. Aguesse is also the founder and CEO of Schoolab US, an innovation studio working with major corporations across the world. He has been developing unique innovation and design frameworks, such as “design fiction,” which he sees as the new essential framework for the leaders of the future.

Featured Projects


How might we use Microsoft Services & Technology to reduce plastic pollution?


Create an IoT system that can assist households in their ecological effort

Lancome Paris

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?


How might we find clever ways to recycle cross-linked materials from the foam of shoe soles into valuable products that have an equal or lower carbon footprint than the first life?


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

Whole Foods x method

Use the wastes generated by a Whole Foods store to create soap or packaging for soap to be used by method

Course Media

Deplastify Class on Recology San Francisco Tour


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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.