Faculty to Build On-Campus Re-makerspace

Mar 26 2019

NYU Shanghai arts professor Monika Lin and instructor Marcela Godoy have won an NYU Green Grant to create a “Re-makerspace” on the 8th floor of the academic building. Lin and Godoy’s Re-makerspace will be an on-campus hub where NYU Shanghai community members can take single-use plastic garbage from campus and transform it into practical objects such as coin purses, ashtrays, jewelry or remade art objects.


Origami coin purse and jewelry made from repurposed materials.

With the Re-makerspace, Lin and Godoy plan to act locally on the global issue of plastic waste. As the world’s largest economies, China and the US produce nearly 100 million tons of plastic waste every year. Much of this plastic is only used once, and then discarded to clog landfills and pollute the ocean. “In general, nothing should be thrown away,” says Godoy. “We hope this space will be a catalyst for future endeavors to create a kinder, smaller human impact.”


IMA students weighing recycled water bottle caps which will be used to make small pots

The Re-makerspace will also host a series of talks and workshops, feature machinery and waste collections systems, and be a meeting space for on-site collaborators. A key initial project will be the construction of machines for repurposing plastic waste. The blueprints for the machines are open source from the Precious Plastic Project and available for everyone.  

“I really loved this concept,” says IMA major Suhyeon Lee ’19. “Now, anyone can start making their own materials with discarded waste and create their own objects.”

Lin will incorporate the Re-makerspace into her classes by introducing students to practices of re-using and re-making discarded materials. She will conduct a number of workshops where attendees can learn how to transform trash into ottomans, food containers, and other household items.

As for long-term plans, Lin and Godoy hope that the data gathered from their plastic collection and re-making activities will shift the university’s institutional policies on the use of disposable plastic on campus. They also hope to develop more re-making solutions for non-plastic trash, including paper, cardboard, and organic waste.

“Our goal is to show people that they can take trash collected from this city, find the beauty in other people’s garbage, and make something again or different,” says Lin.


Godoy teaches a 4-credit course on upcycling plastics, read more about it here.

Other NYU Shanghai projects funded by NYU Green Grants include an on-campus air quality monitoring system and an urban farm.