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Re-use. Recycle. Reduce: Introducing Re-Use units

Rows of different fabrics, rolled up for storage
  • Written byStudent Communications
  • Published date 17 January 2023
Rows of different fabrics, rolled up for storage
Rolls of fabric, London College of Fashion | Photography: Ana Blumenkron

We are introducing ‘Re-Use’ units across specific UAL sites. Designed and purpose-built with our students in mind, we hope that these units will further help to foster a circular economy of sharing and reusing. UAL publishes site-by-site data for recycling which is available via the UAL Carbon Dashboard. In an average year UAL disposes of 1,000 tonnes of waste that account for 23 tonnes of carbon emissions.

What are the units to be used for?

The Re-Use units should be used to deposit unwanted or excess materials, so that fellow students can make use of them. Our students create brilliant, innovative and thought-provoking art, which we know can prove costly. It is our hope that the units will offer an alternative to students seeking out materials for their work and we encourage you to regularly check what they have on offer. Likewise, we understand that students may often be left with materials that they no longer need and we want to provide a suitable alternative to dispose of them ethically.

Why do we need these?

With the rising cost of living, coupled with our ambitious aims set out in our Climate Action Plan, it was clear that finding a cost-effective, sustainable means of sourcing materials for our students’ work was a priority. In 2019 Arts SU undertook valuable research into the cost of study, identifying a risk of students struggling academically due to not being able to afford suitable materials. The Re-Use units will help combat each of these issues, but we need the support of our students to make sure we get the best out of them. The idea of Re-Use units were conceived through the work of student interns who were recruited by UAL’s sustainability team in 2019. It was important that we brought students into the mix so that they could help shape UAL’s future, and we are thrilled to see their idea come to life.

How do they work?

If we are to create a circular economy of sharing at UAL, we need the units to be used. We ask that you keep the Re-Use units in mind whether you are looking to dispose of materials or source them for an upcoming project.

There are different types of units in which specific materials should be deposited. The units will be clearly labelled so that you know what can be deposited and what can’t. Each unit will also display QR codes that can be scanned in order to read a full user guide, with information on using the units safely included.

Where can I find the units?

Re-Use units can currently be found at the following locations:


  • Hard sheet materials – 3D workshop
  • Flexible sheet materials – By the lockers on 3rd floor
  • Bulky materials – Outside the SU bar (Darkroom)
  • Stationery, paints, adhesives and tools – Outside the SU bar (Darkroom)


  • Hard sheet materials – Canteen
  • Flexible sheet materials – Canteen
  • Bulky materials – Canteen
  • Stationery, paints, adhesives and tools – Canteen

LCF (Lime Grove):

  • Hard sheet materials – Student lounge B007
  • Bulky materials – Student lounge B007

The units are mobile so are subject to moving, however they will remain on site and the above locations will be their ‘home’.

It’s very important to note that all students can use the units, whether they are situated at your college or not. This is a UAL initiative and we want as many students as possible to benefit.

If you have any questions about the Re-Use units, please contact Ian Lane, Associate Director (Sustainable Operations), at

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