Some of us like digital writing; others are still fond of handwriting on a notebook. If you are looking for eco friendly options, this article is for you!
We hope the below-detailed review, will help you decide on the best eco friendly option according to your needs and values. Additionally, we included (non) vegan products, as well as (non) digital ones.
We first looked at the type of paper and ink used. Moreover, we took into account the manufacturing process.
And, the post-use possibilities (compost, recycle, etc.) when the information was available.
Lastly, we had a look at the design, packaging, labels, and the different customized options or templates available.
As always, find the best option according to your habits and home location! Reducing our carbon footprint might not be the primary goal of the low waste community.
Nonetheless, it goes hand in hand with an eco friendly home and with our principles at Puratium.
PaperSaver - Australia
Designed with a purpose and created to last a lifetime, Paper Saver notebooks are one of a kind.
Unlike the other notebooks we featured, this one doesn’t focus on the paper itself but instead focuses on its lack.
This Australian brand was created as a way to repurpose sheets of paper that have already been printed or written on one side.
These notebooks provide a great way for you to reuse those stacks of single-sided prints you may have lying around the house.
The notebooks come in two different sizes: A4 and letter. The binders themselves are made of premium vegan leather, both for the inner and outer covers. They are available in various colors such as teal, coral, and even some cute sparkly shades.
While vegan leather options are available, the brand also has a binder (in black) made from genuine leather.
Inside the notebook is a spring steel wire binder used to hold the sheets of paper in place.
There is also a ribbon bookmark and an elastic enclosure, so your paper is perfectly secured in place.
The binder is soft to the touch but is made to last a lifetime. The notebook also lays flat, so you don’t have to worry about writing discomfort due to thick binding.
Putting in the paper is pretty easy too! First, you have to gather around 40-50 sheets of paper, which is the maximum that the notebook can hold.
This will give you about double the number of writing pages.
Stack these papers properly and make sure they’re all aligned. Then just slide them into the wire, and there you have it!
A brand new notebook using paper that’s just lying around your house waiting to be thrown or recycled. Now you can jot down your notes and thoughts without feeling guilty about wasting paper.
If you want, Paper Saver even provides free printable templates for your paper.
These are great for those who prefer to write on lines or grids. There are even planner options! Check out their printables here.
The brand also offers an organizer for a better way to organize your writing materials.
It comes with a pencil case, card slots, as well as a pocket for all your tiny notes, receipts, or reminders.
Overall, getting yourself a Paper Saver notebook is one of the most sustainable notebook choices you can make.
This is especially true if you have a lot of paper at home or work in an office that still uses plenty of paper.
Since it lasts a lifetime, you can just refill it over and over again—sustainable, viable, and cute.
PooPooPaper - Thailand
Rest assured, though, this paper made of about 85% of a tree-free pulp mixture is odorless.
The fabrication consists of mixing the natural fibers found in poo with plant bi-products, such as sugar cane and coconut shell fibers.
Other details worth mentioning is the fact that at no point during the creation of these notebooks was there any wood-pulp based material integrated.
They use alternative waste fibers (mixed into various pulps) to produce their environmentally sustainable, recycled paper made products.
As for the coloring, they use natural inks as well as a non-toxic and edible food coloring.
They do not use any chlorine or bleach, which means they can safely reuse water from their production process to irrigate surrounding crops.
We are big fans of the fact that the company donates a part of their profits to conservation work and animal reserves around the world.
Lastly, note that following an on-site audit, they have been certified with the SA8000 standard by Social Accountability International.
Notely - Australia
The Brisbane-located brand offers a recyclable notebook made of 100% post consumer recycled waste, using no virgin tree fibers. Their products are carefully designed and printed in Australia.
Their eco friendly notebook is printed entirely on FSC-certified paper, which means that they use FSC-certified printing methods. The paper is made from post consumer waste entirely. They are committed to taking the whitest recycled office paper, which results in vibrant white sheets.
We also appreciate this brand, and their paper because it is 100% carbon neutral, with a completely chlorine-free process. On the packaging-side, they work with recycled swing tags and are dedicated to a minimalist approach, even if not a zero waste one stricto sensu.
We particularly recommend the Bottle Blush for its design and gorgeous A5 lined pages.
They offer A5 and A6 formats with lovely and colorful graphics for the covers. They regularly partner with Australian artists, which results in notebooks featuring original artworks.
All in all, they are an affordable, eco friendly notebook option, perfect for any ideas that you need to write down at any time!
They are by far one of the best low waste and eco friendly notebook options when it comes to choosing a recycled notebook.
Ecojot - Canada
Founded in 2007, Ecojot is a family-owned business located in Toronto, Canada.
The paper they use to fabric their notebooks is 100% post consumer recycled paper with acid-free manufacture methods when it comes to their sketchbooks (the information is not available for the other types of products though).
Note that it is made entirely from old waste paper in a mill in Québec, Canada.
We also like this sustainable brand as all inks and glues are vegetable-based(soy ink). Moreover, they source all black and kraft boards from North American sustainable suppliers.
Ecojot donates part of their revenues to causes close to their heart, such as the Live it Earth, a company whose mission is to ‘To create highly produced, educational experiences from sea to space.’
We also appreciate Ecojot’s commitment towards the Buy 1/Give one campaign that gives books to kids all over the world.
One of the reasons we recommend this brand is because it offers personalized journals and notebooks.
Indeed, you can create your custom text and amend the font, style, alignment, and color to your liking.
This can also be done at a broader scale, should you want to order a series of journals with your company logo on it, for example.
Design-wise, we love the bright colors and the playful and lively covers.
The variety of products is also quite impressive: sketchbooks, blank journals, planners, city journals, notebooks, and gift cards, couple that with the use of soy ink in their products, and you have a true winner.
Ecopaper - United States
The owner of the ‘banana paper‘ concept is one of our favorite eco friendly brands producing recycled notebooks. In addition to using banana ‘waste,’ Ecopaper also maximizes waste from coffee and tobacco.
This banana paper is made from discarded stems of banana trees (or the so-called pinzotes),
The advantage is that their paper combines the benefits of using PCW (Post Consumer Waste) and agricultural waste.
We particularly appreciate the didactic explanations regarding the different types of paper, the history of paper, and the current damage certain practices are doing to our environment.
We recommend the Claro Collection for its elegant yet simple designs, made with a post consumer waste kraft paper lightweight cover.
It contains 100 blank pages of banana or sugar cane papers, all 100% tree-free. By treeless, they simply mean ‘products made from agricultural residue or agricultural fibers, not from Trees.’
They mostly offer chlorine-free journals of two different sizes (8 x 11 or 6 x 8), either blank or lined.
Their mission is not only economical, but also social and environmental as they strive to limit, and eventually counteract, any harmful impact their paper notebook might have on the environment.
Calepino - France
The all-made in France brand has many qualities from an environmentally friendly perspective: they use recycled paper, certified by the European Eco-label.
Moreover, their notebooks are made from 100% recycled fibers with the FSC and PEFC labels, including their cover and case.
Indeed, they are made from cardboard designed by a French card-maker (established the start of the 20th century!).
The paper comes from durable forests and is whitened without any chlorine. The ink they use is vegetable-based(soy ink).
Moreover, their eco friendly notebooks are printed with vegetable-based ink only and are assembled by hand.
Design-wise, we recommend the Calepino notebooks for their rounded corners, robust cover, and practical dimensions for their journals.
We also like this Nantes-based family business for their high quality extras, namely wooden pencils, pens, sharpeners, scissors, and the like.
Moreover, it is worth mentioning that their notebooks do not come in conventional packaging film, but is stored in recycled cardboard.
Last but not least, some of their notebooks are not vegan friendly. Calepino uses vegetable-tanned leather, cut, and handmade by Bleu de Chauffe.
It is an animal-derived product but processed through vegetal tanning: the leather is transformed utilizing natural agents: mimosa, chestnut, acacia.
Nonetheless, the advantage of opting for their leather version is that they are reusable: you can insert up to four pocket notebooks that you can refill according to your needs.
And, they offer cardboard-only covers, such as this Pocket version that we appreciate for its green-squared pages finely printed. These can be safely composted: vegetable ink, leather free, chlorine free, and metal free (no spiral).
Rocketbook - United Kingdom
Rocketbook is a small revolution in the notebook world! Indeed, it combines the look of a conventional paper notebook, with all the benefits of using the data you write through your online devices.
It is what you could call a cloud-connected smart notebook.
The principle is simple: you write on it, and you wipe off the content with a bit of water when you are done. Their products come with relevant pens and microfiber cloth.
We particularly like the Fusion version, as it includes seven different page templates that connect to your cloud services. Their 42 ultramodern pages are packed with calendars, to-do lists, and notetaking layouts.
We appreciate that their website details the different plastics that the Rocketbook is made with. Most of these are accepted at UK recycling centers.
However, it is unclear how to separate them correctly. So bear the end of life constraints of the product and its materials before buying it.
What Can You Consider As Eco friendly Paper?
Even though the usage of recycled paper is not the perfect response to address the current depletion of forests, we firmly believe that it is the first step towards more sustainable exploitation of resources versus the conventional paper industry practices.
Did you know that today, about two-third of the fiber used to make paper stems from what is called virgin fiber? This means only a third comes from waste fibers (1).
Cutting trees entails a significant threat to forests, among others, a biodiversity loss.
Let’s then avoid the need for more ‘virgin’ paper in our day to day: opt for the recycled paper (not only for notebooks but also for toilet paper, for example) and properly dispose of correctly (bring it to recycling paper facility).
Let’s have a look at some eco friendly criterias to look for before buying paper-made products:
- Recycled paper, typically paper that is made from post consumer waste (i.e., paper that you throw away at home or in the office that usually ends up in landfills).
- Vegetable inks and glues.
- Sustainable packaging such as cardboard and protective compostable starch-based packing. Find out more about the topic here.
- Tree-free: be on the lookout for logos that guarantee that no virgin wood was used in the process.
- Acid-free for longer, better preservation of the paper, but also to avoid the release of harmful chemicals in nature (during or after the manufacturing process).
- Compostable, ideally, once the paper is shredded and separated from other noncomposable material. For example, be careful of the ink you use, as well as other materials such as metal or plastic for the spine—more information on composting here.
- Fair-trade: where was it produced exactly? Is the company transparent on its manufacturing process and its staff? Does it have a ‘give back’ policy to support environmental causes?
We hope you found this review on eco friendly, mainly post consumer recycled paper notebooks to your liking!
If you are interested in knowing more about the differences between being sustainable or eco friendly, have a look at this article posted recently on Puratium.
Do not hesitate to let us know which notebook you end up buying!
A bit funny, a bit whacky. Lots of curiosity, lots of creativity. All for organic, minimalism and local. More of zero waste, more for our future 🌿