Paper Ink

Paper Ink

United StatesBangladesh
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

What happens to the paper coffee cup after you finish your drink? What becomes of your plastic pen after its done?23B paper cups and 1.2B plastic pen barrels are discarded each year in US. Not biodegradable,both just sit and pollute the environment,and you. But not if we can do something about it.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Despite amassing 234M kg paper waste each year,many Americans don't realize the one-time paper coffee cups they use don't biodegrade.Not surprisingly then,40% solid landfill waste in US are paper-based.These thrown-away paper cups leech 437M kg CO2 gas/year and take up 600K m3 area/annum.Oh,and they stay like that for 500 years!Likewise,barrels of plastic pens compile 2M kg plastic waste/year.So,what can we do about them?

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Let's make pens out of paper!We recycle paper cups into high quality pulp from which pen barrels are created,thereby reducing plastic barrel use.Very recently,the 5% plastic coating used in paper cups to provide insulation and safety became separable from the paper,rendering the cups recyclable.Other parts of the pen (except ink)come from recycled plastic cups and plastic lids of paper cups.3 paper cups (including lid) and 1 plastic cup recycles into 1 paper pen.Instead of plastic,we coat the pen's exterior with wax for insulation.So the pens are recyclable again and are biodegradable.Through PaperInk,as we christened the pen aptly,we can recycle 3.6B paper cups and 1.5B plastic cups/year.Not a bad figure for the environment!
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

For brands like Starbucks or Folgers the cups they use are an icon,a culture,a part of company ethos.When it comes to customer satisfaction and user experience,a cup that holds the coffee is as important as the coffee itself.But drinkers today are asking-what to do with those cups next?Because,once discarded,they do nothing but sit and corrupt nature.So it feels great to tell them the cups they hold will no longer rot the planet,but will be rebuilt into pens,turned into book covers and many other beautiful stationaries.When the brand value of a company is as great as those of Starbucks,assuring consumers of sustainability is of utmost importance.That means going beyond manufacturing,going beyond just the product.That's the legacy we create!

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Businesses producing paper waste are trying to make their product chain sustainable.Some,like Starbucks are encouraging customers to buy $1 reusable cups.Others,like Beta cup & Keep cup are making reusable drinking cups.Still others,like James Cropper PLC in UK are recycling existing paper cups into high quality pulps and transforming them into luxury packaging.Yet PaperInk is first to harness this novel technology to create a subsequent usable product from coffee cups.PaperInk not only reduces paper waste.By promoting paper-made pens it also helps withhold plastic consumerism.
About You
About You
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About Your Project
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Country where this project is creating social impact

, NY, Columbia County

How long has your organization been operating?

Less than a year

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Your Solution
Founding Story: Share a story about the “Aha!” moment that led you to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

Last June I went to visit my friend in New York who I haven't seen for long. I was super excited to meet her. Right after I landed at JFK at about 9pm, we went straight to the Starbucks at Howard Beach to catch up over a pair of Mocha. As I was succinctly sipping my coffee I glanced at a truck outside the window taking away the trash. I saw several huge bags of the coffee cups being loaded into its holder. I wondered, where do all these cups go? I was sure they could be recycled. Or they must melt away into the earth. How wrong I was!

Select Sector(s): To which of Unilever's categories of sustainability does your solution apply?

Sanitation and Hygiene, Greenhouse Gases, Waste.

Measurable Impact
Audience: Who have you identified as your customers/recipients and why? How will you get your solution to them or engage them in your initiative?

Anyone who uses our pen will garner a new experience. Our target consumers fall in 4 categories.Frequent vs. infrequent usage and low vs. high buying capacity. These are the two axes of the target matrix.Students are frequent but low buying capacity consumers while white collar workers are our frequent but high capacity buyers. Our infrequent and lower income consumers are charities. The infrequent but high paying clients are sponsors & medicine brands that uses our product for their promotion.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date and expected impact in the future?

7 fast food chains in Dhaka,including KFC,consented to let us utilize their paper and plastic cup waste for recycling,free of cost.On a test basis,we have recycled 1000 paper and 300 plastic cups to create almost 250 paper pens.We went to a secondary school in Dhaka to give away those colorful pens,free of charge.But it served another purpose-those children got excited when we told them what's coming for them to write with.But Dhaka's paper waste problem is minuscule compared to New York's.Thus PaperInk is more suited for the US market.Coffee chains,fast food joints and supermarkets there are already queuing up to let specialists take care of their paper waste.

Growth, Finance & Leadership
Scaling the Solution: How do you intend to scale your activities over the next two years (e.g., reach new markets, diversify solutions, etc.)? What will make this possible?

We start off with pens but then move on to luxury paper goods.Why pens first?It's the easiest to market,but as we grow,we gain enough experience to diversify.At the moment we are outsourcing our recycling process but over the next 18 months we plan to have our own recycling plant.The Unilever awards will help us with exposure which will gain us investors.Printex, a franchise of PaperInk is manufacturing the pens as per our requirements. We have distributed pens free of cost in a promotional campaign and have gained satisfactory results. The immediate next step is to manufacture and market souvenir pens to sell at a higher margin.This will help us break even with our initial production cost.

Financial Sustainability: What is your business model to ensure financial sustainability?

PaperInk is investing in collection & segregation of cup waste to create high grade pulp.3 tier marketing strategy targeting waste producers,regulators & pen buyers consolidate PaperInk's position in hearts & minds.Recycled paper pens are sold for everyday $0.99 to luxury $98.99,so not to compromise variety & style.Extant technology,market readiness & investors' willingness make PaperInk so awesome.Right now,waste can truly produce wonders!

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

The team was top 50 semifinalist in the Global Entrepreneurship Week 2013, hosted by the Kaufman Foundation for a project that uses Mobile technology to verify medicines. Also was the Global Health Prize winner in Global Social Entrepreneurship Challenge, University of Washington. The founder was top 50 select in the sustainable cup challenge, by DoSchool, Germany. We were contacted by CNBC to feature our latest preneur of mobile technology.