INNOVATION

Social Startup 'Who Gives A Crap' Is Making Toilet Paper Cool To Help Those In Need

Even if you don't give a crap about art, this concept is a wee bit exciting.

23/05/2016 12:57 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:52 PM AEST
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Who Gives A Crap
Toilet paper is normally shoved in the back of the cupboard, but this limited edition series is a work of art.

Simon Griffiths is a man on a mission to make toilet paper cool.

But it's not as weird as it sounds -- and it's for a very good cause.

His startup, Who Gives A Crap, sells recycled toilet paper, paper towel and tissues and dedicates 50 percent of profits to WaterAid to build toilets, provide access to clean water and provide hygiene education in developing countries.

So far, Who Gives A Crap has provided 120,000 people access to basic toilets for a year, saved 22,758 trees by only using recycled, forest-friendly paper products, preserved 54 million litres of water by using eco-friendly materials and reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 4,377 tonnes.

Started in 2012 by Griffiths, Jehan Ratnatunga and Danny Alexander, the social enterprise is well versed in quirky publicity techniques to spread the word. Griffiths famously spent 50 hours actually sitting on a toilet -- yes, he ate and slept there too -- until their crowdfunding campaign passed its goal of $50,000.

Who Gives A Crap
Who Gives A Crap Simon Griffiths is always looking for new ways to sell more loo roll.

Now Griffiths, who is CEO, has launched another fun marketing ploy by teaming up with design duo Craig & Karl to create limited edition toilet roll wrappers.

"The more toilet paper we sell, the more toilets we can build and for us it's all about doing business a little bit differently so we can have conversations with people," he told The Huffington Post Australia.

"It enables us to reach a new audience -- some people who don't know us but may be into design or a fan of Craig & Karl and we can tell them our story and hopefully they can become a long-term fan of Who Gives A Crap."

Griffiths said doing cool art collaborations like this had been an idea since the startup's inception, and they were stoked when Craig & Karl, who normally work with major players including Google, Apple and Nike, agreed to be involved.

"We really respect them for the work they do and we wanted to see what they came up with with a very open brief," he said.

What they got was five designs which focus on a single body part -- and not the ones you'd normally associate with toilet paper. They designed abstract versions of an eye, ear, nose, mouth and finger and designed them in such a way that consumers could play a game of mix and match and create their own art exhibition at home.

"We thought it would be cool to take this product that people normally shove in the back of a cupboard, make it aesthetically beautiful and get people to put it on display and be proud of it," he said.

"Craig & Karl were really interested in the display element to be interactive."

Karl Maier from Craig & Karl said the idea of using art to spread the word about socially-responsible businesses such as Who Gives A Crap was a great one.

"Good design can make you more aware of the world and can deliver an important message in a smart and meaningful way," he said.

"It can provide unexpected opportunity to educate and inform the broader community."

The limited edition Craig & Karl toilet rolls are being sold exclusively online.

Griffiths says Who Gives A Crap will also begin small-scale product testing in the US over the next few months but admits branding might be an issue.

"The Who Gives A Crap name has gone well in Australia and the response in the UK is great but it might be a challenge in the US," he said.

"But even if we alienate 50 percent of the population it's still a market that is seven to eight times bigger than Australia."

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