Sustainable business starts with a passion; the realization of an ideal. In this blogpost we will bring you the story of a start-up with a sustainable concept: Redopapers. An Antwerp start-up that develops and sells unique handmade products with surplus paper from printing offices.
Their businessmodel? Collect misprints and paper surpluses free of charge from printing offices and process them in a traditional ay into design products such as notepads, calendars and other paper accessories.
Everything started with a pop-up store in Antwerp, where they tried the idea for a couple of months, to see if it was viable. Pretty soon local shops asked if they could also sell their products and various organizations and businesses asked if they could do something with their paper surplus. That was the starting point; a business was born.
The raw materials of Redopapers bundle ecological with economic benefits. Less paper ends up on the mountain of waste. Moreover, the participating companies save time and money because they have to dispose or destroy less waste. And Redopapers then benefit from free raw materials, which they process into new commercial products; an ecological win-win situation.
It doesn’t stop there. They also extend that sustainability idea in their production processes. Their studio, for example, is filled with recycled material and second-hand furniture. Raising awareness and inspiring others is also a big part of their mision. That’s one of the main reasons Redopapers organizes workshops on a regular basis. You can learn how to bind books for example.
Next: transportation and employment. Deliveries to stores in and around Antwerp is done by bicycle courier. They also believe strongly in social employment. The helping hands in their studio are mainly (ex-)students in special education. They offer those people a meaningful work experience.
Redopapers also works with organizations that want to reuse their own paper surplus. By now there are partnerships with Oxfam, Broederlijk Delen, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Steinerschool in Antwerp. For some it’s a continues stream of un-used materials like catalogs and posters that are out-dated for others it’s a paper surplus after they renewed their corporate identity where all their old covers, letterheads and packaging materials can no longer be used.
The processing of paper waste is also a source of inspiration
The paper used is personally selected. That is a challenging but time-consuming process. The most difficult thing is to combine paper with different thicknesses, dimensions and structures, to subsequently rework it into a new uniform format for an end product. By combining printed paper with blank sheets, interesting new designs are created. For example, by cutting posters in such a way that accidental, abstract designs are created: beautiful as a book cover for example.
In a printing house, tons of paper are thrown away every day. At the moment they are not big enough to make a big difference there. The ambition? Reach the point where they can.
Redopapers was voted ‘Starter of the year 2017’ by Unizo.
Inspired by their story?
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