Tag Archives: eco

This Saturday Switch Off with Earth Hour

30 Mar

Being “eco” is a daily choice, and one of the best things about creating a greener lifestyle (and better world), is that it can be made in the smallest choices.  Buying alternative fiber journals, keeping an eye out for eco paper features,  and using stationery created from sustainable practices are just a few examples.

But one of the absolute easiest things you can do is flick the switch … off, that is, in support of Earth Hour. Join millions of others around the world who will turn off the lights this Saturday, March 31 at 8.30pm-9.30pm (wherever you are in the world). Earth Hour is an annual global event (since 2006) organized by the World Wildlife Fund and made possible by teams in 135 countries.

It can be quite inspirational to see your city go dark knowing the intention behind each flick of the switch. Will you participate? Whether you do or don’t, we’d love to know your thoughts.

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Green Goodies for St. Patrick’s Day

9 Mar

Saint Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, and while everyone around the world celebrates their own way, “green” is always involved. Whether that’s literal or eco-inspired, we’re sure the following round-up will inspire you to keep green close at hand this following weekend (at least so you don’t get pinched!).

1. Moleskine Passions Wellness Journal (5 x 8.25 in.) – acid-free paper
2. Leuchtturm1917 Large Hard Cover Ruled Notebook (5.75 x 8.25 in.) – acid-free paper + archival quality
3. Apica CD-11 Series Notebook (Set of 3) (5.75 x 8.25 in.) – acid-free paper
4. Poo Poo Paper Stationery Sets (11.5 x 8.5 in.) – tree-free alternative fiber
5. Mudlark Eco Clare de Lune Boxed Note Cards – 80% post-consumer recycled content + printed soy-based inks

And a few interesting St. Patrick’s Day:

“The shortest St Patrick’s Day parade in the world takes place in DripseyCork. The parade lasts just 100 yards and travels between the village’s two pubs.” Wikipedia

“Though green is a very popular color on St. Patrick’s Day, the original color that was very popular and often related back to St. Patrick was not green, but blue.” TopTenz.

“There are four places in the United States named after the shamrock, the floral emblem of Ireland: Mount Gay-Shamrock, WV; Shamrock, TX; Shamrock Lakes, IN; and Shamrock, OK.” History.com

“Another St. Patrick myth is the claim that he banished snakes from Ireland. It’s true no snakes exist on the island today, Freeman said. But they never did. Ireland, after all, is surrounded by icy ocean waters—much too cold to allow snakes to migrate from Britain or anywhere else.” National Geographic

 

Live Your Life in Color: Paper and Color Theory

28 Feb

Have you ever noticed how many restaurants use red? Next time you go out to eat, keep an eye out for how many establishments have red logos or signs, red-hued menus or table linens, and even red décor. It’s no coincidence: Psychologists have long recognized that red stimulates appetite.

Marketers and social scientists study colors and how they affect people across industries. The effects of each color have been studied and interpreted and are used as a common, subconscious way to sway a consumer. However, it’s not just for industry professionals; you can leverage the benefits of color theory, too!

Be Productive (or at least make others think you’re productive)

Choose blue. As you go about your workday, notice how many corporations use blue in their logos and on their websites. Most shades of blue convey trust and honesty. Light blue presents calm and focus, while darker shades of blue exude power – think of a navy suit. Consider painting your office your favorite shade of blue or, if you don’t get to choose your paint colors, add in blue accents with photos, desk accessories, or even a light blue journal (like the Leuchtturm1917 Pocket Ruled Journal).

Calm Those Shaky Nerves

Moleskine Volant Mini Ruled Notebook (Set of 2) (2.5 x 4) on EuropeanPaper.com

Confrontations are part of business life. No one likes to deal with tense, stressful, or ugly meetings, but when you must, settle your nerves by taking minutes in a lavender Moleskine notebook. Lavender is known to be a calming color. You’ll help yourself feel a little more settled – and, who knows? It may rub off on your colleagues! And, since those Moleskine sets come with both lavender and purple, use the purple when you want to convey wisdom. Deeper purples, long considered royal colors, convey dignity, wealth, and success.

Snap Out of a Creative Funk

Whatever you do, skip brown! Brown has a reputation for being boring and just too practical. Instead, focus on bright cover colors. While a bright red could do the trick, your best bet might be a sunny yellow, which will help give you energy. To up your creative spark, take yellow Rite in Rain notebook outdoors to gather inspiration! (Read more about Rite in the Rain on our blog here.)

Convey Your Excitement

Demonstrate your enthusiasm for a new project or generate a little excitement with orange. Brighter orange shows a youthful, peppier optimism, while a darker-hued orange shows warmth. The Rhodia collection seems tailor-made for displaying bright, cheerful, excitement! Not an orange person? Consider a simple orange pencil from Rhodia instead of bigger splashes of the color.

Clairefontaine Basics Large Spiralbound Notebook With Pockets (6 x 8.25) on EuropeanPaper.com

Show Eco-Prowess

Convey to your colleagues that you are an all-natural, environmentally-conscious consumer with a green notebook. The color green evokes a down-to-earth vibe and symbolizes growth. However, green also is considered the color of envy and lack of experience – so choose a shade or hue that is found in nature, like muted tones, olive greens, or rich, leafy shades.

Control the Boardroom

In color theory, black is a neutral. Slick black is associated with power, elegance, and formality. Run meetings with a hardcover, black Moleskine to convey sophistication. Black also can be used to display a modern or traditional sensibility – so leverage black to enhance your natural style.

In the end, though, whether you select colors to help adjust your own mood or to subtly sway those around you, make sure you choose ones you like as well! If pink makes you happy, pick pink!

A Guide to Recycled Paper

23 Feb

There was a time when recycled paper came in two hues: washed-out gray and off-yellow. Now, recycled paper is available in a rainbow of colors, a range of materials, and even with custom printing options. But not all recycled paper is created equal!

Buying recycled paper reduces the amount of waste ending up in the landfill. It also saves energy – recycled paper uses much less energy to produce – and recycling causes less air and water pollution than manufacturing “virgin” paper. However, make sure you’re getting the biggest environmentally friendly bang for your buck. Keep in mind a few recycled paper definitions that will help you choose the most eco-friendly option whether you’re buying journals, stationery, or even office supplies!

Post-Consumer Waste vs. Pre-Consumer Waste

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recycled paper must be made from at least 30% post-consumer waste. That means that 30% has been used by a consumer, turned into a recycling program, and then reused to make new paper. Pre-consumer waste, on the other hand, uses scraps left over from the paper manufacturing process. While it’s good to use up that waste, it’s even better to eliminate it from the paper production process altogether, which means buying paper with the highest post-consumer waste content that you can find. For example, the Mudlark notecards boast 80% post-consumer waste, a very eco-friendly choice for writing that thank you note!

Recycled Content

You might find paper products labeled with a “recycled content” or “contains recycled content” claim. In these cases, the product has less than 30% post-consumer waste or contains only pre-consumer waste. While it’s great to buy products that use any amount of recycled content, these paper options are on the low end of the eco-friendly paper scale.

Chlorine Free

You might see a number of chlorine-related claims on paper products. The bottom line: The chlorine bleaching process produces tons of toxins that may disrupt our immune systems. If you’re looking for top-shelf eco-friendly paper products, you want to find the “100% chlorine free” claim, which means the virgin paper wasn’t bleached with chlorine at any point, or – even better – the “processed chlorine free” claim, which indicates that the recycled content wasn’t bleached with chlorine.

Acid Free

Acid-free paper production neutralizes the acids that occur in wood pulp to create longer-lasting paper that won’t yellow over time. The paper itself can last from 500 to 1,000 years, which has made it appealing to archivists and scrapbookers, but that long-lasting feature has made it a subject of numerous eco-debates. However, the process to make the paper is significantly more environmentally friendly than the process to produce standard paper. So don’t choose paper simply because it’s acid free; choose a paper that is environmentally responsible in some other way and is acid-free.

Tree-Free Fiber

A tree-free fiber claim on a paper product means that material was derived from a source other than trees. These tree-free options are usually a little more expensive but provide you with the most sustainable paper option. Tree-free fibers include animal poop, hemp, textile scraps, sugar cane husks, and more. Check out the Cherry Blossoms Large Lokta Journal or the Poo Poo Paper Elephant Silhouette Journal for tree-free fiber options.

Sustainable Certifications

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes (PEFC) are both non-profit, non-governmental organizations that promote responsible forest management. Seals from these organizations indicate that paper has been approved in their certification processes. As is the case whenever multiple organizations provide the same function, there is significant debate over which certification is better; in North America, it seems the preference is for the FSC seal.

Finally, to score more eco-friendly points, look for recycled paper that is printed with soy-based ink. Traditional ink is petroleum-based, so soy is a gentler alternative.


Keep Your Green Resolutions with PooPooPaper

9 Feb

In a time when people are becoming more aware of their impact on the environment, many people will have resolved to live a greener lifestyle in 2012.  This can involve recycling, using less energy, investing in carbon offsets, and many other resolutions that will require consistent attention throughout the year.  However, it may be easier to simply start small.  Keep your resolution to “go green” by slowly making the switch to more sustainable products.  These products are not only environmentally friendly; they have amazing stories behind them. Take PooPooPaper for example.

PooPooPaper was no accident.  Founder Michael Flancman grew up loving the great outdoors.  From canoe trips and ice hockey near Toronto, to kayaking and mountain climbing inBritish Columbia, “the outdoors were in my fabric,” Flancman said.  This passion combined with an intrigue of business and manufacturing led Flancman on a natural course to found the Alternative Pulp and Paper Company and PooPooPaper Products.

The process from poop to paper is really quite intriguing.  Basically, animals such as elephants, cows, horses, and donkeys, which have fiber-rich vegetarian diets, produce almost as much poop as the amount of food they consume. Their “digestive systems … don’t really break down the vegetation all that well, [so] their poop has plenty of fiber even after their meal is consumed.” As fibers make pulp, which makes paper, Flancman saw the possibility to make paper without the use of trees, and instead he started using animal dung. After the dung is collected, it is rinsed and boiled, then formed into paper.  The whole process is a little more complex and takes a bit of time to get to the finished product, but it is fascinating to see how it is done.

Most products now have some sort of recycled stamp on them.  Many boast that they are at least partially made from recycled material, but when it comes down to it, the recycling process can be just as bad as the creation process and the underlying product still relies on tree-based pulp.  Some companies are taking part in what is often referred to as “greenwashing.”

According to Flancman that means, “the act of blatantly and intentionally misleading the public by offering a product for sale that falls well short of the purported sustainable benefits claimed or suggested.”  There could not be a better definition.  PooPooPaper products are the exact opposite.  They are made from the fibrous waste of a variety of animals.  No chlorine or bleach or other harsh chemicals are involved, and even soy-based ink is used exclusively when printing designs.  While these are certainly great achievements, the company is always striving for a more efficient process.

The driving force behind PooPooPaper is simple, some might say even downright playful, and rightfully so.  It is to create a product that is “immeasurably more sustainable than its tree pulp-based counterpart” while at the same time having fun. Really the best way to explain their motivation is to rely on the slogan: “PooPooPaper – Playfully Outrageous with an Underlying Message of Sustainability.” Not only is the company model sustainable, they donate to several non-profits committed to wild land conservation and animal protection.

Resolving to live a more sustainable lifestyle is a process.  Start by supporting a company that makes sustainability their foundation.  PooPooPaper strives to “spread the word of sustainability to as many people in as many places as possible through our unique, memorable, fun, educational and meaningful products.” Their goal is to spread the word; your resolution is to use a more sustainable product.  Together, both goals will be met.   After all, seeing the paper on the coffee table will be the constant reminder to waste less, save more, and live smart.

Meet the Writer: Scott Sery is a native to Billings, Montana, where he enjoys amazing access to the great outdoors the area has to offer.  With years of wandering in the backcountry, and a love for the environment, he transfers his experiences exploring the great outdoors to guides and stories of surviving in the wilderness.  

Giving the Right Gift: Eco-Friendly Lokta Journals

8 Dec

Cherry Blossoms Large Lokta Journal (5.875 x 8.25)

Cherry Blossoms Large Lokta Journal on EPC

As the holiday season approaches, we are inundated with advertisements to buy, buy, buy! Something for all our family members; something shiny and new for our significant others; something small for all our co-workers; and something for ourselves, of course. The choices on gifts are essentially endless, and the options can overwhelm anyone into simply picking up a gift card, slapping a bow on it, and calling it good.

However, if we stop for a minute and take a breath from mass consumerism, we can remember a time when it was not this difficult to pick out or create a gift for those we know and love. If you think about it, most kids hand-make cards and gifts for their parents. The time and energy that went into these gifts were worth far more than anything they could have bought, and they end up being the most cherished gifts a person could receive for a long time to come. So why don’t we continue this into adulthood?

The main excuse is time (or lack thereof), of course. Many adults become so busy with work, taking care of their home and family (and maintaining their sanity), they just don’t have the time to sit down for arts and crafts. Don’t fret though, instead of buying some shiny object that comes across media outlets, there is a way to show you care (even without having the time to do it yourself). I’m talking about eco-friendly products made of handcrafted materials. For example, an eco-friendly journal can have all the flair of a fancy new gadget, all the hard work of a gift delicately crafted by your hand, and all the meaning of something given from the heart.

One of the most commonly handcrafted papers is Lokta paper.  Also called Nepali paper it is made from the bark of the Lokta bush that grows naturally in the Himalayan foothills.  The process is incredibly sustainable, doesn’t require any chemicals or machined manufacturing, and a lot of individual energy from local Nepalese villagers goes into making every one of the pages in a Lokta journal. Here’s a glimpse at the process:

  • Stripping the Bark:
    • The inner bark of the Lokta plant must be stripped by hand and thoroughly cleaned, then chopped into small sections.  The batch is then soaked in water for up to 6 hours to soften the fibers.
  • Cooking Process:
    • After the sections of Lokta bark have soaked, they are cooked in a water and soda solution for 1 to 2 hours.  This process helps break down the cells and allow the bark to become more malleable be formed into paper.
  • Forming the Paper:
    • When the cells have lost their rigid structure, the pulp is pounded with flat rocks to break it down further.  It is then poured into a flat wooden mould and allowed to dry in the sun.
Lama Li Large Lokta Travel Journal on EPC

Lama Li Large Lokta Travel Journal on EPC

The finished product is a paper that is not only pleasant to the eye and to the touch, but also one that is incredibly strong.  Since the paper is not bleached or cured with any chemicals to alter its look there are individual variances in every strand that enhance the natural look and feel of the paper.  Plus, the Lokta plant is a renewable resource as it regenerates after every pruning (which takes about 2 to 4 years to fully grow back), so a person can not only have the satisfaction that their journal is providing jobs for the Nepalese that will last for years to come, but that the environment is not being destroyed in the process.

Finding the right gift can be a burden.  In today’s society is often too easy to get caught up in the commercialism of the season and forget about finding a gift that has real meaning behind it.  While there are a lot of great gifts out there, the one with a story, hard work, and meaning behind it will surely stand out above the rest.

Green Gifts: Thoughtful Eco-Friendly Products for Friends & Family

6 Dec

Whether it’s during the major holiday season or for birthdays or life events, give your friends, family, and coworkers thoughtful gifts that have a minimal ecological impact. Pretty and sleek, eco-friendly stationery and office supplies come in a variety of colors and designs. With so much range, you can find the perfect, environmentally-responsible gift for everyone on your list!

For the Harried, Hurried Exec

Exacompta Exacard Wirebound Business Card Holder on EPC

Exacompta Exacard Wirebound Business Card Holder on EPC

For the busy professionals in your life, give the gift of organization with the Exacompta Exacard Wirebound Business Card Holder. Your environmentally-conscious professional friends will appreciate the 80-percent recycled material. With slots that hold up to 120 cards, you’ll also help them reign in those unruly stacks of business cards. You also can send this to your business contacts as a creative, professional holiday gift. Slip your card into the proper alphabetical slot, and turn the sleek card holder into a fun – and functional – business gift.

For the Daydreamer

Poo Poo Paper Elephant Silhouette Journal on EPC

Poo Poo Paper Elephant Silhouette Journal on EPC

Give the writer, dreamer, or goal-setter a unique gift: a journal made from elephant poop. That’s right; the Poo Poo Paper Elephant Silhouette Journal is made from elephant dung that has been cleaned, processed, and turned into ecologically-responsible journal paper. This one-of-a-kind gift will impress the eco-friendly journal writers on your list. Personalize the journal by writing an inspirational quote or heartfelt message on the inside cover.

For the Creative Genius

Eco Vintage Journal on EPC

Eco Vintage Journal on EPC

The blank tree-free pages of the Eco Vintage Journal beg for sketches. The artist in your life will be inspired by the hand-painted images adorning the cover of each journal. Because many artists develop preferences for materials and media, it can be difficult to find just the right thing. These journals give an artist plenty of blank space with room to scrawl in a travel-friendly size.

For your Nearest & Dearest

Mudlark Eco Hayden Leigh Memento Boxed Note Cards on EPC

Mudlark Eco Hayden Leigh Boxed Note Cards on EPC

For a gift that is as wallet-friendly as it is eco-friendly, pick up a recycled paper notecard and pen a love letter. Though it sounds too simple, a heartfelt, handwritten note will give the recipient a lasting memory and a keepsake that will last longer than another scarf-and-gloves set. Write a note to your mom telling her how grateful you are for all she’s done for you. Pen a romantic note to your partner detailing why you love them. Send a letter to your friends explaining why their friendship means so much to you. Tie a bow around the envelope and leave it under the tree – or draw a bow on the envelope flap if you’re sending it through the mail. This simple, eco-conscious, budget-friendly gift can be a meaningful gift that may even spark a new tradition.

Lama Li Eco Hemp Pencil Bag on EPC

Lama Li Eco Hemp Pencil Bag on EPC

For the OCD Organizer

Give the gift of storage to your favorite organizer. The Lama Li Hemp Pencil Bag is handmade from uber-eco-friendly hemp. At four-by-eight inches, it’s big enough to tote pens, pencils, and highlighters, while being small enough to tuck into a purse or laptop bag. Plus, it’s a gift with good karma: Proceeds from sales help support rural economic development projects inNepal.

For the Fountain Pen Aficionado

Conklin Mark Twain Crescent Blue Marble Fountain Pen on EPC

Conklin Mark Twain Crescent Blue Marble Fountain Pen on EPC

Channel an American legend with the Conklin Mark Twain Crescent Fountain Pen. A classic refillable pen is an eco-chic alternative to traditional writing instruments. Americans buy around 106 billion (yes, billion!) ballpoint pens each year. All that plastic eventually ends up in the landfill. Spend more on an elegant pen that will last a lifetime, stay out of the garbage, and inspire your grateful recipient.

One Reason to Choose Eco-Friendly Journals

8 Nov

Losing yourself in the wilderness is one of the greatest joys of life.  It allows the mind a chance to think, it gives the soul a reprieve from everyday life, and it allows the body to relax.  Getting lost in the woods, temporarily at least, can provide a much-needed respite from the rush of everyday life.

See all Eco Journals on EPC by clicking this image

Top down: Poo Poo Paper Journal, Lama Li Hemp Journal, Handmade Lokta Journal

To continue enjoying the raw beauty of nature, we must turn to sustainable choices in our lives, large and small. Each year approximately 300,000 acres of trees are turned into paper in the United States alone.  This paper is mostly used in offices when pure white copy paper is needed, and much of it is then tossed into the waste bin shortly after use. However, in our daily journals, weekly planners, and random note-catchers, we don’t need to be so frivolous. Plus, for an enhanced experience when writing in journals, notepads, or on stationery, I want paper that has some texture and a story behind it.

And if you’re like me when you walk into the woods with a journal, it’s easy to understand alternative paper options when standing amongst nature.  Trees are a renewable resource, but there are several options out there that are even more sustainable that might surprise you.

With a little creativity, and by combining new and old techniques, it is amazing what can be made into paper.  Paper sources have a wide range – here are just a few:

  • Fiber from coconuts, mango leaves, banana tree-trunks, and many other fruits & vegetables.
  • Cotton, flax, bamboo stalks, and hemp.
  • Bushes like the lokta plant.
  • Recycled clothing rags.
  • Animal dung (there is a particularly high yield from elephant dung, and yes, even poo can be cleaned up and turned into a writing medium).

As easily renewable resources—and some that are harvested as waste or recycled products—all of the above paper sources make the argument for choosing an alternative form of paper that much stronger. The availability of tree-free alternatives in a sustainable harvesting fashion is so immense that if the demand increased for them, it could dramatically reduce the demand for paper made of trees.

We can choose to buy a journal, notebook, or other paper product that is made from new paper, OR we can choose to purchase an eco-friendly journal. Whether it is from 100% recycled paper originally made from trees or made from a sustainable alternative fiber, we as consumers have access to more alternative options than ever before (not to mention, more to weigh on our conscious with this information).

Getting out and enjoying nature at its finest is wonderful.  Taking a notebook or journal to document the trip can create memories that will last a lifetime.  But if trees are destroyed just to create those journals, nature can, and will, quickly disappear.

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