In an ideal use we would all reduce our use of notebooks, but we are realistic enough to know that for now they play an important part in many people’s lives. Still, it is important to recognise the impact paper production is having on our planet; as a process that requires vast amounts of energy and water, paper production not only contributes to deforestation but also waste and air pollution. 40% of commercially grown trees go toward paper production and paper accounts for around ¼ of the total waste in landfills. Production of a single A4 piece requires 10 litres of water – and with a global annual production of 420,000,000 tons of paper every year (that corresponds to 2 pieces of paper for every person on the Earth every single hour, aka 20 litres of water per person on the planet every hour!) – that quickly adds up to an enormous total water consumption.
In fact, the pulp and paper industries are the single largest industrial consumers of water in Western societies. Additionally, despite the relative ease of recycling cardboard and paper, 55% of it is still coming from newly cut trees. So we must be smart with our choices. We have highlighted companies in this recommendation whose values align with our own of increasing the sustainability of paper production in their stationery through innovative production, product longevity and operational transparency.
Beyond choosing a sustainable company, we also recommend: keeping a scrap paper drawer for notes/doodles that don’t require a fresh sheet, writing your shopping list on a phone app rather than a piece of paper, and always recycling used paper and cardboard.
Our Top Picks…
Company: Starting at the top of our list, A Good Company are one of few climate-positive ecommerce companies, meaning they not only offset their own minimised carbon footprint but actively reduce overall carbon emissions via participation in activities such as carbon capture planting. They are determined to change the face of mindless consumerism and empower conscious, sustainable choices. Further to this aim, they have also established The Good Foundation; 4% of the net price of all their sales, and not just profits, goes towards initiatives to promote sustainability and tackle climate change issues. The Good Foundation works directly with respective communities and their sustainability-focused projects, cutting out administration costs that can deplete donations to large charitable foundations; you’ll be kept informed of exactly what contribution your 4% has made and be able to follow the progress of the project on their site.
What impressed us most about this company was the absolute transparency of its processes. On the company website, the impact on the environment of all products is outlined on the ‘Footprint’ tab, which utilises measures of wastewater consumption, manufacturing energy, and carbon emissions from manufacturing and shipping to calculate a corresponding carbon emission footprint by scientifically established measures – and importantly contrasts their eco-friendly options with the corresponding impact traditional products have on the environment.
Product: It is no longer a question of rock versus paper with The Good Company’s stylish, sleek notebooks – produced not from trees, but from recycled stone left over from other industries. The result – a silky writing experience on durable, waterproof paper in a climate-positive notebook that requires no deforestation, no harmful chemicals and no wasted water. The production process relies on solar power alone, shipping is entirely plastic-free and utilises the same stone-produced paper materials. A Good Company also climate-compensates all shipping, offsetting the environmental impact. A Good Company offer notebooks, diaries and journals starting at £21.00.
Company: Karst is a forward-focused company founded in Sydney, Australia, determined to be a part of tomorrow’s solutions for a sustainable future. Karst takes their B Corp certification seriously – questioning their products and practises at every stage of the product lifecycle to ensure responsible commerce. Karst partners with the One Tree Planted Foundation, donating a portion of sales to plant trees in North America, South America, Asia and Africa, and utilises carbon-neutral delivery services in Australia and solar energy production in their business.
Product: Along the lines of our preceding recommendation, Karst also uses stone-crafted paper with a 60% lower carbon footprint to produce waterproof, durable, and to be frank, cool notebooks! Set your intentions in stone with their Daily Planner Set – a favourite of ours priced at £26.00. It has taken the best of goal setting and self-improvement planners to produce a 12 theme planner set to maximise your productivity, motivation, self-reflection and achievements for a full year.
Company: Papier has an attitude to their notebooks and planners that we admire. Their products are created on a made-to-order basis, meaning they are not only beautifully crafted and customisable, but excess stock, returns and warehouse emissions are minimised. Although not recycled, Papier ensures their paper is sourced from FSC-certified forests, meaning they only ever work with paper suppliers who comply with the highest social and environmental standards. Their packaging is paper rather than plastic, and they include a useful guide on their sustainability page to indicate how to recycle their products. We like that for Papier, each product is a unique item to be treasured, and the buy-to-throw mentality is avoided.
Product: Papier offers many beautiful notebooks, planners and journals for you to personalise so the trickiest task for us was picking between the designs! Our favourite is the daily planner, ranging between £20-£30 depending on design, which assists you in organising your week in every way imaginable; from to-do and shopping lists to meal planning, to motivational quotes, weekly overviews, and goals planning and tracking.
We do our best to research and find the most environmentally-friendly companies to recommend at GoEco. However, if you have any suggestions that we might not know of, or disagree with any of our recommendations, please get in contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. We always want to learn more about the companies with the potential to save our future!