Sunday, October 18, 2015

Eco-alternatives to notebooks

Posted by Amanda Villaruel | | |
Guest post by: Anna Villaruel

Over the past years I've become more aware of the global environmental issues we face and the potential consequences of deforestation. My notebook hoarding has probably exhausted a good chunk of trees by now. Multiply that by the billions of people who are using paper on a daily basis.
Rhodia and Clairefontaine - eco-friendly alternatives to notebooks
Rhodia and Clairefontaine - eco-friendly alternatives to notebooks


So lately I decided that I wanted to make some changes. Obviously I couldn't stop writing or buying notebooks altogether. However, I decided to be conscious of where the notebook paper came from and how the raw material was retrieved.

That's when eco-friendly notebooks were brought to my attention, and I discovered these two fantastic sustainable stationary brands:

Rhodia and Clairefontaine.
Review of Rhodia and Clairefontaine notebooks
Review of Rhodia and Clairefontaine notebooks

The notebooks by Rhodia and Clairefontaine are supposedly produced from sustainably managed forests and controlled sources. They're owned by the same French company «Clairefontaine» who produces the paper in both brands based on their sustainable ethics and manufacturing process. 

Their chlorine-free paper is made from pulp and wood-products from certified sustainable forests (PEFC and FSC). 

Click here to read more about FSC, PEFC and other eco-labels.

Here are my favorite go-to notebook collections within their range:

Rhodia "Webbie" Webnotebook Dot Grid Paper

Rhodia Webnotebook. Here with lined paper. Photo courtesy of gouletpens.com.
Rhodia Webnotebook. Here with lined paper. Photo courtesy of gouletpens.com.

Use: Sketching, travel journaling, practically any everyday journaling.

+: The notebook is often mistaken for a Moleskine, however the material is of high quality: a solid, smooth leatherette cover and incredible 90g acid-free and pH-neutral paper. The almost invisible dot grid paper that lets you draw as well as write in a perfect straight line.

-: The notebook is narrower than your average Moleskine, paper is a bit too yellow, and it doesn't lay completely flat. 

Rhodia Dotpad A5

Rhodia dotpad - eco-friendly alternative to notebook - PEFC certified
Rhodia dotpad - eco-friendly alternative to notebook - PEFC certified

Use: Brainstorming/writing/sketching outlines and drawings for my website and books.

+: This is a stapled paper pad with perforated pages, and it boasts of the same satin smooth paper quality as the Rhodia Webbie. The paper is slightly thinner and lighter (80 g), and is great for quick notes. I only use the dot line because of its versatility for drawings and notes.

-: The black colored cover shows fingerprints easily. The A5 size is perhaps small and if you want bigger space for your writings I would go for the A4 size of this notepad.

Rhodia Mini Cahier Square Grid 

Rhodia Mini notebook - PEFC certified
Rhodia Mini notebook - PEFC certified

Use: I keep this in my purse and use it for jotting down my grocery list, contact names and other ideas that might show up while I'm on the go.

+: This tiny notebook possess the same paper quality as the Dotpad.

-: The black colored cover shows fingerprints easily. The A5 size is perhaps small and if you want bigger space for your writings I would go for the A4 size of this notepad.

Clairefontaine Vintage 1951 A5

Clairefontaine Vintage notebook - front and back - PEFC certified
Clairefontaine Vintage notebook - front and back - PEFC certified
Clairefontaine vintage notebook - take a look inside
Clairefontaine vintage notebook - take a look inside

Use: Journaling and writing outlines for projects.

+: This tiny notebook possess the same paper quality as the Dotpad.

-: The black colored cover shows fingerprints easily. The A5 size is perhaps small and if you want bigger space for your writings I would go for the A4 size of this notepad.

General pros about the notebooks:

What I love most about their notebooks is that they're made of satin smooth quality paper (archival quality by the way) which is a real pleasure to write in.

The paper quality is thick, smooth and doesn't result in feathering nor bleeding. I can write for hours on this paper. My pen glides fluidly on it and that's a real feat if you write fast and don't enjoy writing on rough, inconsistent, see-through paper.

And of course, the green bonus that the Rhodia and Clairefontaine notebooks are certified and supposedly come from sustainably managed forests.

General cons about the notebooks:

Some would find the paper to be slippery to write on. The paper color of Clairefontaine is a brilliant white and may be a bit harsh on the eyes. Some of the notebooks in the Rhodia-range on the other hand is made of paper that might be a tad too yellow for your taste. 

The biggest downside to these notebooks is probably the price (I bought mine at bureaudirect.co.uk, but if you're based in the US, I suggest gouletpens.com). They're slightly pricier compared to low-end notebooks. But the paper quality is divine, and I can't imagine going back to $1 notepads.

Besides, at least I'm doing something less damaging for the future of the forests. 

Yes, I'm officially a notebook snob! :)




Continue to read:
Green your school start with reusable book covers.

How to deal with environmental guilt.

Have your say about what you just read :)

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