Fact: the majority of recycled paper in New Zealand is sent to China.
Another fact: it takes 10 litres of water to make a single sheet of A4 paper.
And another fact: there’s a Kiwi company working to do something about this.
Giving paper a “second life” before it is recycled is the mission of Misprint Co., a Wellington-based start-up that takes recycled paper and turns it into notebooks.
The company claims one of its A5 repurposed paper notebooks saves 130 litres of water – a pretty bold claim if there ever was one.
But could there be something to it?
There could be, since they work with organisations including Te Papa, Flick Electric Co, Grow Wellington, Creative HQ, Vic Books and Strategy Advertising and Design. They also work with schools around Wellington to repurpose their paper waste, including the Yoobee School of Design and Wellington East Girls College.
Oh, and they’re also currently collaborating with Method Recycling by repurposing their bin packaging and turning it into a Misprint Co. Collection Box (for every Method customer in Wellington, they will also receive a Misprint Co. Collection Box to put in their space).
So, yeah, there could be something to it.
Businesses working with Misprint Co. can also choose to use either their Ecoloop service (creating a closed-loop cycle where the businesses paper is returned back to them in the form of stationery), or they can use the Offset service, in which repurposable paper is used to make Misprint Co.’s public stationery stock.
In a further boost to their progressive credentials, the company is also the first all-female founders team to go through a Lightning Lab accelerator programme, and were also a part of the first Lightning Lab Manufacturing programme in 2015.
To recap: they’re pretty rad.
A team of three female designers-turned-entrepreneurs make up Misprint – Jenny Buckler, Kareena Harris and Priscilla Loong.
Bucker says the company originally started as a university project, when the trio noticed lots of paper that had barely been used going straight into recycling bins. Following a spring program at Massey, they applied for a spot in Lightning Lab, and now are working out of Wellington’s Creative HQ.
“The startup community in Wellington is really thriving, and we have made a lot of great connections here,” says Buckler.
“It’s really helpful that Wellington is compact, as it makes travelling between clients and customers very easy, plus everyone knows someone you work with.”
Bucker says the way Misprint works is pretty simple.
“We have two different services we offer for businesses to take part in,” she explains.
“They are Ecoloop – this is where we create a closed loop cycle within businesses, we repurpose their nonconfidential paper and turn it into goodlooking notebooks we then sell back to them. The other service we offer is called Offset – this is where we offset businesses recycling. The nonconfidential paper we collect from these businesses, schools and Universities is used in our general Misprint stock.”
With plans to establish franchises throughout New Zealand and beyond, Buckler says her company fills an important niche.
“We believe we can help New Zealand become a lot more aware of where their paper comes from, how they use it, and what happens to it after use,” she explains.
“There are a lot of businesses that recognise change is needed and we are an extra, tangible outcome for their sustainable efforts. All of the businesses we work with love to know how much water they’ve saved, and how many trees. Creating a behaviour change through repurposing is crucial to moving forward.”
Misprint’s business model is also something other Kiwi companies can emulate, Buckler says.
“Basically that trying to reduce waste in any way possible has positive effects on the environment. It can be simple to implement new sustainable initiatives within the workplace. While working with some schools around Wellington, it’s great to see the younger generations interested and being enthusiastic about becoming more sustainable and adopting different strategies to do so.”
But for all the innovation and repurposeful-ness going on, Buckler says Misprint has a very simple guiding principle.
“One person’s printing error is another person’s notebook.”