It's National Recycling Week in New Zealand, helmed by Reclaim NZ. Each day of the week has an easy to remember theme that challenges and encourages you to re-think your recycling habits. Today is Reuseable Wednesday, which looks at making informed choices when it comes to what we purchase and what we can reuse.
We took this one step further by looking at repurposing, which extends the lifecycle of materials and adds value by turning possessions into something that can be used again.
We talk to Jenny from the Misprint Co. about repurposing, responsibility and upcycling.
Why don’t you tell us about the Misprint Co.?
At the Misprint Co, we repurpose waste-paper from businesses, organisations and schools around New Zealand. By doing this we save 10 litres of water per A4 sheet, and 130 litres per our standard A5 notebook.
Like our recycling bins, your notebooks are a vehicle for behavioural change. Why else should people choose to buy your notebooks, or use your service in their offices?
Throughout the years we’ve been in business we’ve seen how much unused paper is thrown away by organisations, or we’ve seen them paying recycling fees for perfectly good paper. A lot of small businesses don’t have recycling bins, so the paper just goes straight to landfill.
When your recycle paper it goes through its own process to break it down, so there’s lots of water and chemicals involved. The main difference for us when it comes to repurposing is we don’t treat or bleach the waste paper, it’s directly repurposed. Repurposing or upcycling is directly turning something into something else you can use.
Using our notebooks increases the story within people's businesses, and it's also an education tool for people. They can put their paper into something awesome and a cool product can come out of it. It encourages upcycling in all aspects of life.
Can you tell us more about your Repurposing in Schools programme?
We’re still working this out, but what we hope to do here in the future is make it part of the school curriculum. We want to be able to go in to more schools and chat to the students about the benefits of recycling and repurposing. We hope to teach them about the circular economy, and the three R’s - reduce, reuse, recycle.
What does success look like for you?
Our big plans at the moment would be developing a business that can be scalable, so that would mean creating software to help our processes. We’d love to see the Misprint Co overseas. We can create the most impact by getting other sustainable folks onboard to run the Misprint Co hubs in other places - that would be what success looks like for us, and constantly creating an impact on the environment as well.
How’s the best way for people to champion Misprint Co.?
We have a couple of different services, one of which is completely free to use! You can choose to just donate paper to us from your business, we do collections for free but the paper needs to be non-confidential as it will be seen by the general public. Our Ecoloop service is where you receive notebooks from your own repurposed paper - this is where behavioural changes are really reinforced.
"You can choose to just donate paper to us from your business, and we do collections for free."
What’s one recycling tip or trick you have for us?
I don’t know if it’s a tip as such, but with recycling in general it's just good to take part! This is what’s great about Method, you’re making recycling clear for people to understand. I think if you do what you can to repurpose what you have, whether that be paper or jars, and actively think of ways to reduce your waste then you can make a lot of difference. Recycling should be your final step.
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