MatterCup Wins Big Bang! Sustainability Award

MatterCup Wins Big Bang! Sustainability Award

At the final Big Bang! event on May 26, cup recycler MatterCup walked away with $11,000 from the SMUD Energy and Sustainability Award and one of the Little Bang awards. MatterCup was also a finalist in the UC Berkeley Big Ideas competition.  Congratulations to Chantal Deslauriers and Lorenz Lehmann!  Their innovation is a system that uses a heavy-duty polypropylene cup that users can bring back to any participating store and get a $1 refund on their original deposit.  The cup is dishwasher-safe and can be used multiple times.  A smartphone app will show where the participating locations are, making the program attractive to the stores that use MatterCups because of the increased traffic.  The target customer for the MatterCup system is an independent coffee shop or juice shop that wants to demonstrate a commitment to cutting waste from the 120 billion single-use cups that are thrown away each year.  The store would be charged a subscription fee to use the system.  

The idea was inspired by a system Chantal saw in Germany during the year she was staying there during the height of the pandemic.  At Christmas Fairs there, hot chocolate was served in reusable mugs, and it sparked the question whether something similar but customized for the US market might do well.  As more and more people have heard about MatterCup now, Chantal says she is hearing from more and more people that they can’t wait to try it out.  A good sign.

MatterCup will be using their winnings to fund a test of their product at the UCDavis Coffee House this summer.  The team believes their system will be more acceptable to customers than the more expensive travel mugs that users must wash or the compostable cups.  With what they learn, they hope to be able to refine the offering and get 50 stores signed up in the first year.

We will be keeping track of the progress of MatterCup and will invite them to a future Perspectives event to hear how the demo on campus worked out, as well as their future plans. 

Thomas Hall

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gary Simon is the Chair of CleanStart's Board. A seasoned energy executive and entrepreneur with 45 years of experience in business, government, and non-profits.

CleanStart Sponsors

Weintraub | TobinBlueTech Valley, Revrnt, River City Bank

Moss AdamsPowerSoft.biz, Greenberg Traurig, California Mobility Center

Applications Open in Summer for SMUD SHINE Awards 2022

Applications Open in Summer for SMUD SHINE Awards 2022

On June 1 through August 1 the window is open for applications for SHINE Awards from SMUD.  These awards can create sales opportunities for clean tech companies to install clean energy tech in underserved communities.  Here’s one example:   With a $10,000 award, a community organization in South Sacramento installed the “Friendliest Bus Stop in Town”, adding a bench, shade structure, solar power kiosk cell phone charger/Wi-Fi for public use, free little library, bike rack, bike pump and repair stand.  There are dozens of others that involved installing EV charging stations, new LED lighting, rooftop solar, and high-efficiency HVAC.  

Betty Low, Program Manager in the Sustainable Communities Department at SMUD, explained that the awards could be for as much as $100,000.  There are three levels of awards – the Spark level up to $10,000 (with a 25% match required), the Amplifier level ($10,001 to $50,000 with a 50% match requirement), and the Transformer level ($50,001 to $100,000 with a dollar-for-dollar match requirement).  SMUD is looking for applications in 4 categories:  

Social Well-being

Healthy Environment

Prosperous Economy

Improved Mobility

  • Community education
  • Community safety
  • Infrastructure improvements
  • Collective impact partnerships
  • Under-served community development
  • Air quality improvements
  • Carbon emission reduction
  • Climate readiness
  • Environmental justice
  • Health equity
  • Tree canopy
  • Digital accessibility
  • Economic development
  • Small business development
  • Low-income programs
  • Workforce development
  • Technology skills training
  • Electric vehicle
  • Autonomous transportation
  • Public transit access
  • Charging station
  • Walkability
  • Shared mobility access

 

These are pretty broad, so be creative.  A list of all the prior awards is on the SMUD website, so take a look at those for some inspiration.

The awards will cover materials, out-of-pocket expenses, consultants and vendors.  Covering staff costs requires paying prevailing wages, but can be done, according to Betty.  Matching money can be contributions of in-kind costs up to half of the match requirement.  

SMUD is making 6 webinars available in the summer to help you understand the requirements and to give an opportunity to ask questions.  Take advantage of one of those if you are interested.  The dates and sign-ups are on the SMUD website as well.  

Thomas Hall

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gary Simon is the Chair of CleanStart's Board. A seasoned energy executive and entrepreneur with 45 years of experience in business, government, and non-profits.

CleanStart Sponsors

Weintraub | TobinBlueTech Valley, Revrnt, River City Bank

Moss AdamsPowerSoft.biz, Greenberg Traurig, California Mobility Center


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