Ethical Products: Going green with stationery

School is about to start after the summer break and one of the best things about it is buying new stationery. Something about new books, pens and paper just brings out the inner geek in me. There are a whole bunch of ways you can go green with stationery and the choices out there are simply mind-boggling.

Paper Products

Some of the things to look for with paper products include 100% post-consumer recycled, acid and chlorine free, Forest Stewardship Council certified and preferably VOC-free, biodegradable inks and dyes.

Mirage Paper has launched a line of journals, notebooks, sketchbooks, and notepads made from 100%  post-consumer paper waste. The acid- and chlorine-free paper and boards are also certified by the FSC. Canadian company Ecojot uses biodegradable vegetable-based dyes and inks. The paper mill runs on landfill gas and a percentage of their profits go towards environmental causes.

Other options to consider is hand-made paper made out of waste cloth and fibres. Still other forms of eco-paper includes options like elephant poo paper made out of elephant dung. The Auroville Press in India are one of the pioneers in hand-made eco-friendly paper.

Whitelines is a Swedish company and one of the first stationers to use carbon-footprint labeling. All of their products list their carbon footprint and the company has aims to become completely carbon neutral. Sourced from managed forests in southern Sweden, the paper in Whitelines' products is milled in an FSC-certified plant that reuses carbon dioxide in a closed loop, which means it produces zero carbon emissions.

There are many companies that offer eco-friendly printing paper. Using 100% post-consumer recycled paper is the best and some of the brands to look out for Evolve, EverGreen, Envirographic 100 and Domtar.

Pens and Pencils

There are many forms of eco-friendly pens and pencils. Wood-based pencils can be avoided altogether as there are many companies that offer alternatives. O'bon is a company that makes eco-friendly pencils by rolling used newspaper tightly around a graphite core, a process that the company claims better protects the lead from splintering after being dropped.

Other stationery like pens etc can be made from recycled material. The Green Stationery Company offers recycled pens, pencils, erasers, highlighters, markers, folders, notebooks etc. Several companies offer mouse-pads, erasers etc made from recycled car tires.

Terracycle is a company that converts waste into products that can be used and their back to school range includes pencil cases, backpacks made from recycled juice cartons which is available in Wal-Mart and Target.

Before you rush off to buy all these new, green products you can away have a look through your old stuff and see if there is anything you can reuse. There are scores of eco-friendly stationery products out there and the brands mentioned here are only a tiny portion of what's available.