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Wiser Living

Finding a natural solution

Take Note: Sustainable Notebooks Made From Recycled Paper

by Andrea Olsen

Tags: eco-friendly school supplies, green school supplies, green office,

When it comes to school supplies, it’s no surprise notebooks have the highest environmental impact. On every back-to-school list for all age groups, no student goes to school without a notebook. That explains why Americans use 85 million tons of paper per year, which divides up to 680 pounds per person.

Thankfully notebooks made from recycled paper have been popping up everywhere, covering a range of prices. Buying notebooks made from recycled paper is one of the easiest and best ways to green your back-to-school shopping. Each ton of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4,000 kilowatts of energy, and 7,000 gallons of water.

While there are many affordable recycled options out there, I tend to migrate towards the notebooks with prettier covers. A colorful design might be pricier, but I just can’t resist bright colors and a print that makes me smile.

Ecojot’s whimsical prints have me wishing I could go back to elementary school. I can’t decide if my college classmates would smile or sneer when they caught a glimpse of this notebook printed with colorful birds.

Ecojot bird notebook
This bright Ecojot notebook is filled with 100 percent recycled post-consumer waste paper. Photo Courtesy Ecojot.

All of the glues and inks used to construct Ecojot’s notebooks are vegetable-based and biodegradable. Filled with 100 percent post-consumer waste paper, they are eco-friendly from cover to cover. At $12 a notebook, they are a little bit pricier, but their adorable patterns are irresistible. Ecojot notebooks are available online, or at Barnes and Noble and other national retailers

For something eco-friendly and handmade; look no further than Etsy. I found these adorable upcycled notepads made by Ivy Lane. The covers are made from cardboard boxes and the wrappers of various food items such as Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Kool-Aid juice boxes and Crayola crayon boxes.

Etsy Ivy Lane upcycled notepads
Upcycled notepads, such as this handmade one from Ivy Lane's Etsy shop, repurpose materials that would have otherwise ended up in the landfill. This notepad upcycles cardboard crayon boxes. Photo Courtesy Ivy Lane.

I saw one with Twizzlers on the cover, which made my mouth water. Added bonus: they are filled with recycled paper. Ivy Lane’s notebooks come in varying sizes, and cost around $10 each. Check out Ivy Lane’s Etsy shop.

For something a little more polished, use the Naked Binder as an organizer for papers and notes. Stick some loose-leaf recycled paper inside for a notebook that can always be refilled. The Naked Binder offers three different styles and nine colors to choose from.

Naked Binder
Keep organized with a colorful Naked Binder. Photo Courtesy Naked Binder.

What’s inside might be a mess, but the classic look of the Naked Binder will make you look put together. Made without vinyl, plastics or toxins, the Naked Binder is designed to minimize waste and chemical processing. The outer cover is made of 100 percent recycled unbleached board, made from household and office curbside waste. Each binder costs between $7 and $10. Buy the Naked Binder online.