KULeuven students who need a lab coat for their studies currently have to buy one themselves. The possibilities for the purchase of such a lab coat are very diverse and differ for each faculty, e.g. via the course service of the student association or at a local bookstore (Acco). There is no central selling point for new or second-hand lab coats yet.
Through this project, KU Leuven would like to start up a more sustainable, circular system. First of all, we are looking for a safe, circular lab coat of high quality that can withstand numerous washings. To ensure that the circular coats are used as long as possible, we also want to set up a second-hand circuit of lab coats within the KU Leuven, in addition to facilitating the sale of new coats.
Combining safety criteria and circularity in the search for a sustainable lab coat does not appear to be evident. Additional negotiations, also with other suppliers, will be necessary.
With regard to the sale of a more sustainable lab coat, the course services are currently still bound by current contracts. We will enter into talks again later to work out a new proposal.
Also, centrally setting up a second-hand circuit for lab coats is not possible because the courses of the KU Leuven are too spread out over various locations in Flanders. That is why we asked the course leaders of the various student circles to organise something themselves. Students do like the idea, but need extra support to organise a second-hand sale effectively.
For discarded lab coats and staff work clothes, a contract was made with a company that processes the textiles into insulation material. After the first large collection campaign, we plan to use the same channel to collect discarded lab coats from students.