The new recycling

The new recycling

Europe is doing a good job recycling paper. But can we do something else besides recycling? Redopapers gives paper waste a new life straight away. Together with print company Zwartopwit.

"Paper destroys our forests." That's something you sometimes hear people say, but is it true?

In Europe, the forests that are responsible for the wood and paper industry are well managed. Wherever paper is made, forests grow. Soil fertility is in good condition because trees are not planted and uprooted according to monoculture.

Moreover, 72% of the paper and cardboard in Europe is recycled. So we are certainly doing well, but there is another side to the story:

You cannot recycle paper forever. After about four times, the fibre is too weak to provide any quality. There is new fibre needed - new paper - to make good recycled paper. The recycling process also requires a lot of energy and water.

Image Tille collecting prints


Redopapers turns surplus paper into high-quality design. But how does this work in practice? Manager Manu Lemeur of Zwartopwit and Tille from Redopapers explain how they make the difference with an efficient software system.

"Normally print companies work per order", says Manu. "An order comes in, you prepare four printing plates and start the press for each order. That is intensive work and costs a lot of money."

For these reasons, Zwartopwit now does things differently. "We wrote an ERP software. Based on paper type, print run, and format, the system decides on the combination of orders that goes together on one printing sheet. Twice a week, we go to print with the most favourable combination of orders."

Image Zwartopwit software system
Image Tille visits Zwartopwit

Beautiful, unprinted sheets of paper that were previously cutting waste for recycling, are now the designs from Redopapers. "With the software, we estimate in advance where there will be room available for the planners and to do lists of Redopapers. You reallocate waste even during production. That way you give it a purpose without the whole recycling process."

The fact that Zwartopwit prints a lot for cultural houses also makes the cooperation aesthetically interesting for Redopapers. "Culture houses often choose writable quality paper with a nice fibre. We also use the insert print sheets with their beautiful misprints. So all our planners have cool and surprising printing on the back," says Tille.

Image beautiful misprints make our weekly planner


For Zwartopwit, the software is a sustainable and economic solution. Printing becomes cheaper because with combination orders you only start up the printing press once. Moreover, there is less waste to get the colour right, and you use fewer aluminium plates.

The residual streams of the printing company become the raw materials of Redopapers. The software system makes you think about waste even before it becomes waste. This way, we create beautiful and circular collaborations across sectors.

Would you like to know more about the Belgian paper chain? Read more here.

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