After 10 years of watching masses of paper go to waste as a by-product of his work as an architect, Jon Yong did something about it.

“As architects, we generate tonnes and tonnes of wasted paper,” he says. “Sometimes we print something just to see how it looks and five minutes later it goes into the bin. Wasting paper on such a large scale was weighing heavily on my conscience, so nine years ago I came up with the first Paper Saver.”

The Paper Saver notebook deals so effectively with the problem it was designed to solve that Yong has barely touched the design since creating it nine years ago. But the original prototype is very different to the product it is today.

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Yong’s original personal notebook was made from cardboard he found around the office. Today the paper saver is a smart, black, synthetic-leather cover encasing a heavy-duty plastic pocket that can hold up to 45 sheets of folded scrap paper that would otherwise have ended up in the bin.

It was never Yong’s intention to produce anything on a large scale, but when colleagues began asking about his handmade notebook, he realised he had created an interesting, problem-solving product that was the first of its kind.

“Initially, its simplicity almost stopped me from producing it,” he laughs. “But when I realised how interested people were, I began to see it as a sellable idea. It’s unlike any other recycled notebook because it allows people to use material they can source themselves.”

Though architecture may seem a far cry from stationery, Yong is familiar with small-scale paper design (the result of hours spent creating miniatures from cardboard) and knows the importance of good aesthetics. The result is a sleek, attractive notebook perfectly suited to the office environment. The A4-sized version is currently available in black, red and teal. The A3-sized version is only available in black.

This article was updated on July 17, 2016.