Craft supplies made from surplus materials

Craft supplies made from surplus materials – a simple yet ingenious idea! The reuse of materials is also a form of environmental education and social employment.



Overconsumption is a burden on the planet’s ecological sustainability. Products are produced in vast quantities, and many end up being disposed of as waste instead of being recycled. Manufacturing processes produce surplus materials that are wasted. On the other hand, craft makers and small businesses struggle to find recycled materials, as they tend to need larger quantities that are difficult to find, or surplus is created by larger companies where it never becomes available to consumer customers.

Solution: Craft supplies made from surplus materials

The Helsinki area recycling centre provides customers with a way to use recycled materials as craft supplies. Donated products are sorted and any items that cannot be resold are repurposed as craft materials. For example, these can be buttons removed from unusable clothes, or pieces from incomplete puzzles. Small items are sorted into saleable packages and ones that can be collected for free. Companies also provide suitable materials such as carpets used at trade fairs. In addition, the recycling centre organises craft workshops which use materials collected via Näprä.

Revenue logic and benefits to the recycling centre

Nearly all of Näprä’s income comes from sold craft materials, and a few percent from workshops organised for various groups. Without Näprä, the recycling centre would have to dispose of as waste the materials that can now be sold. Some of the materials are distributed for free to kindergartens and schools, which always have need for affordable craft supplies. Näprä has one full-time employee, a few subsidised employees and many volunteers.

Benefits to customers

Näprä offers craft supplies that are more affordable than store-bought materials, and its bundles contain different types of materials that inspire creativity. Recycled materials distributed to kindergartens and schools also have an educational aspect. Craft makers and small enterprises can make sustainable choices by using materials supplied by Näprä.


The recycling centre in a nutshell

Main business: resale of other used goods

Established: 1990

Net sales: €1–50 million

Launch of circular economy solution: Craft activities since the launch of the centre, the Näprä name was introduced in 2011

Employees: more than 250 

Headquarters: Helsinki



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