They seem insignificant, but stationery does contribute to global waste, especially plastic, paper, and colorings or dyes.
It’s believed and expected that by 2060, the amount of pulp and paper consumed and produced globally will double. Just to give you a perspective, a total of 386 million hectares of forest were lost around the world between 2001 and 2019.
Often, stationery is manufactured using unsustainable resources like trees–with minimum reforestation effort, and plastics that leave significant carbon footprint. In addition, the amount of plastic packaging waste from the stationery industry is overwhelming. And,
Making paper flawlessly white is the result of 18 different chemicals that are known to contaminate the water bodies.
Basically, even though it may not seem as big as mass agriculture or livestock farms, stationery has a remarkable footprint. But we need stationery; and despite the going digital, paperless initiatives, sometimes they’re just impossible to do.
And FYI, this issue (needing stationery while using unsustainable resources) has been around for ages, since the industrial revolution, to be specific.
Other than continuing to do our best to go digital and paperless, we can also supply your office and homes with environmentally friendly stationery. Here are some of them.
This Canadian brand/company was founded by Keith Loiselle, who had spent nearly a decade working in manufacturing and, with his own eyes, saw the amount of waste and single-use items that ended up in landfills.
His company now aims to change Canadian consumers’ dependency by introducing eco-friendly products on a mass scale. For example, the use of biomaterials, soy-based ink, recycled construction paper. Moreover, for every tree saved using recycled material, Greenre will plant three more.
Loiselle said, “We’re doing a lot of really neat things to educate and engage and we’re really excited because I think the time is now to make these big changes.”
Additionally, Loiselle, who is a parent of three children himself, was baffled by how much plastic waste comes from children products like toys, coloring books, and other stationery stuff.
“I just felt that it was time to do something, and I could do something, and the stars aligned where I had an opportunity and I could take the easy path or the hard path,” he continued.
Since its launch in March 2020, the brand has faced a lot of challenges. One of them, as you might have guessed it, is the pandemic as well as supply chain issues after unprecedented flooding in British Columbia.
Nonetheless, Loiselle remains confident and positive despite the hurdles. He believes the company will see carbon offsetting effects through its tree-planting initiative. Additionally, Greenre has its stationery products on the shelves of major retailers across the country.
Seeing how humanity keeps being destructive to the environment, two college friends Ashutosh Ananth and Naren Raj teamed up to begin a startup together. The startup has a goal: saving the environment and helping to reduce the carbon footprint.
Naren Raj said, “We started the business in 2019, but initially, we had not thought of stationery as an option. The only thing that drove both of us after college was that we wanted to begin something of our own. When we registered our company, we came across plantable stationery and started by doing corporate gifting to attract customers.”
From the start, they wanted to make sustainable stationery a part of their customers’ daily life. Part of consumer’s reluctance to shift to the greener alternatives is the mindset (and sometimes the fact) that sustainability comes at a cost.
In order to remove that notion and reluctance from consumer’s minds, Rescript strives to keep the cost of their pens, pencils, notebooks and A4 sheets similar to that of a regular paper brand.
And, to combat wasting water as well as water pollution caused by paper bleaching, Naren stated that Rescript uses 50% less water to manufacture paper and it crosses out bleaching.
Since the company doesn’t do paper bleaching, the color of the paper is off-white. But because of this, the water is reusable several times.
The good news is, since the sustainable option from Rescript isn’t pricier than the conventional ones, several business organizations, hospitals and educational institutes have become regular clients for it.
But what about using recycled paper? Does it help at all?
Well yes. According to Naren, “It takes 16 reels of recycled paper to save one tree, therefore when an organization uses recycled paper in huge quantities, they are saving a massive number of trees every month.”
Stationery for the kiddies
As mentioned before, waste from stationery just doesn’t come from offices; they can also come from school supplies and kids artsy products. So, to help reduce the waste, here are some brands that you can choose.
Amber & Rose
One thing you can do in order to reduce cutting down trees for pencils, is opting for pencils made from recycled newspaper and magazines. But even though they’re from recycled materials, they’re pretty to look at.
And, it also doesn’t mean that they’re a pain to sharpen–in fact they’re featured with an easy peel-to-sharpen design. Moreover, we can compost the peels to help kids learn about composting.
Other than pencils, they also make a variety of recycled paper notebooks. The paper is handmade khadda paper, made from recycled cotton. Meanwhile, the cover materials can be made from recycled paper and leather.
You can buy the company’s products here.
This brand offers a selection of art pads, paint, dough, rulers, sidewalk chalk, and origami kits among other things.
Eco-kids’ eco art pad is made from FSC and Rainforest Alliance-certified post-consumer agricultural waste. Specifically, the waste comes from pinzotes, the discarded stalks from banana trees.
Each sheet of paper is strong enough for markers, crayons, or the brand’s food-safe, organic fruit and vegetable pigmented paints. Yep, the kiddies of all ages can play with colored stuff like eco-dough and beeswax crayons. And parents won’t have to worry when they put those things in their mouths.
Similar to eco-kids, Earth Grown is a brand that makes colored stationery, specifically crayons, made from organic, vegan soy wax, and mineral pigments that have been certified non toxic by the Art and Creative Materials Institute. This means that the ingredients are from within the country (The USA) and grown without pesticides or herbicides.
The shapes are interesting, not just the regular sticks, like dinosaurs and fish. The kiddies are going to love the brand, and at the same time the crayons stimulate their creativity.
As for the packaging, the crayons are packaged in an uncoated cardboard box with shredded cardboard filling.
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