Under the mantra of “one person’s printing error is another person’s notebook”, The Misprint Co. turns used paper from offices into beautifully imperfect notebooks.
The idea for The Misprint Co came out of a University paper. The Misprint Co. team was studying Visual Communication Design at Massey University, and an assignment asked them to create a hypothetical business solving a problem using design thinking. They noticed that designers tended to waste a lot of paper, and a lot of the paper in recycling bins was still white. The team found that there was a gap in the market between a designers use of notebooks and this unused paper with fun designs printed on it. After they went through a Lightning Lab Accelerator in 2015, they realised that this paper wastage was not specific to designers but almost all types of organisations were using and wasting thousands of sheets of paper. They also learnt that it takes ten litres of water to make one new piece of paper, not to mention the trees and energy required, and from there on knew they could make a difference. After registering as a company in March 2015, The Misprint Co had been operating for 3 and half years before announcing closure on 31 August 2018. The team fluctuated between 2 and 5 team members at any one time.
What problem are they trying to solve?
The Misprint Co. is solving the problem of resource misuse, explicitly pertaining to paper. They first noticed this problem at design school, where they saw huge rubbish bins of printed paper. At first, they wanted to make interesting notebooks that took away the fear of the blank page for designers, but once they dug deeper into the ins-and-outs of paper usage, they realised that there was massive amounts of preventable waste. They found out that the number of resources that were needed to make paper and ship it around the world had a disastrous impact on our planet. The Misprint Co. believes our whole economy is based on the idea of using something once, but they want to change that way of thinking and consuming to something a little more circular.
What impact is The Misprint Co. making?
The Misprint Co.’s environmental impact is directly linked to the amount of paper they save from landfill. Each piece of paper saved is ten litres of water no longer needed to make a new piece of paper, because someone is reusing one instead. They count up the number of sheets they save, and therefore the amount of water they have saved. So far they have saved over 650,000 sheets of paper. This equates to over six million litres of water! Concerning social impact, they have a goal of providing educating around resource use. The humble piece of paper is a great starting point, as so many companies go through a tonne of paper (literally) and a lot of it is not printed on both sides. They have made over 30,000 notebooks so far, which means 30,000 notebooks haven't been shipped to New Zealand from elsewhere.
What is The Misprint Co.’s business model?
All of the waste paper The Misprint Co. uses comes from organisations that have signed up to their collection service, and from one-off donations. They collect from nearly 100 different organisations. These include large and small businesses, schools and government agencies. Most organisations are situated in Wellington, but some also span nationwide. They collect A4 office paper size or larger, that is blank on one side and doesn’t contain any confidential information. To create the product, they repurpose the paper into notebooks, which does not mean mulching the paper down. It's similar to upcycling, and their notebooks feature all of the fun misprints that come on the waste paper when we collect it.
The Misprint Co. has two services for paper collection. Offset is where customers collect paper and donate it to us. This paper is then used to make notebooks for conferences, retail stores and individual sale. Ecoloop is where a customer exclusively repurchases their own paper back as notebooks. All generated revenue comes from selling the notebooks, so trade is directly linked to their impact. The Misprint Co. is a registered Limited Liability Company.
Where to from here?
The Misprint Co.’s mission was to close loop New Zealand's paper waste streams. Misprint closed its operations on 31 August 2018 and is now working to fulfil final orders and repurpose as much paper as possible.
If you are interested in the problem of paper waste and want to learn more about the solution, contact The Misprint Co. on their website.
The Misprint Co.
Kareena Harris, Jenny Buckler & Priscilla Loong
Date of Creation
Number of Employees
Limited Liability Company
Protecting the environment
Reducing waste & recycling