We interviewed the founders of Lousy Ink, Mike Eleven and Oli Ruskidd to find out more about how their innovative idea to use ink runoff from discarded inkjet cartridges once deemed for landfill or chemical waste burn-off to ink for artists.
They hope build a platform for inspiring and educating the community through this upcycling process.
Why did you decide to bring Lousy ink to the market?
Being artists ourselves, we wanted to create a community through a brand that was socially and ethically conscious. We were shocked about how much waste was filtering through our local plastics factory and how many gallons of ink were being considered waste ink. This inspired us to take a chance and invest our energy into giving people a reason to care about where their materials come from.
We saw Lousy as the perfect way to bridge the gap between an artist material that was both affordable and flexible. We both believe that great art should come from great artists not great tools and Lousy sat perfectly within that humble mentality.
What are the environmental benefits of Lousy Ink?
The last time we were at the factory, there was over 50,000L of “waste ink” with no purpose. The ink has no other recyclable qualities and is deemed as chemical waste, which is where Lousy solves that problem. Our aim is to get as many people as possible subscribing to Lousy Ink and in turn, help to eliminate the amount of waste created from recycled printer cartridges. In doing so, we also try to educate and inspire our customers to be more conscious about their art-making and question how much more ethical their practice could be.
How is the ink collected?
Old Inkjet cartridges are sent to the recycling company from waste collection services, which are then crushed down for their plastic and metal components. The consequential run-off ink is then collected into giant tanks that are stored away until eventually being sent off to be burned as chemical waste, or what is known as “waste to energy”. We collect a portion of this storage ink and give it a new life as Lousy Ink.
Do your customers seek out recycled or sustainable materials? If so, why?
Speaking for ourselves, we feel like millennials are looking to brands to empower their decisions and give them a genuine cause to believe in. Being honest with our approach is key to everything. Artists are often not fortunate enough to use the best materials and the price gap between cheap and nasty products vs. high-quality, artisan ones is huge. We want to be our customer’s first option not only because it’s cheaper, but because they can feel good about their purchase afterwards. If we give people a reason to believe in something bigger than themselves, and for that belief to have the potential to better the world, than there’s something special there that money can’t create.
The AWRE 2017 Towards Zero Landfill Project aims to use local innovations to improve resource recovery and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill year on year.
Head to the Lousy Ink website to find out more.