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Zero Waste Stationery [+GIVEAWAY]

July 22, 2018

Eliminating, substituting, reducing and/or recycling the waste from our stationery drawers.



 At this stage of my life, I have less need for stationery than say, my teenage days. Thanks to technology, almost 90% of my work happens on a computer or an iPad, which requires zero stationery whatsoever.


However, I do keep some stationery with me because I do a bit of arts & crafts, and also enjoy keeping a physical, paper-based notebook for my to-do lists and bullet journaling (although this too is possible to do completely digitally nowadays). I am also a stationery lover, and can go a little out of control in stationery shops. 


Whether you love stationery or not, or you need them or not, it is inevitable that you will own some - and so let’s find ways to reduce or eliminate the waste in this category!








Eliminate: It is now very easy to eliminate the use of paper, what with laptops and iPads and Adobe Acrobat. You no longer need to print something to be able to read it, and even official documents can be signed digitally! 


Reduce: If you are old-school, however, and enjoy printing stacks of paper for whatever purpose, you are in luck as paper is recyclable and the infrastructure to recycle them is quite sophisticated. Not printing is, of course, the better way, but the next best thing you can do is to ensure your waste paper go to the right place for recycling.



Substitute: If you do absolutely need to print, then do so on recycled paper. Be a patron of recycled products and encourage others to do the same!






Eliminate: Get rid of cheap disposable pens that don’t last long in use, but last forever in the landfill. (In fact, avoid disposables altogether). Even if these pens are labeled as ‘Eco’ because they’re made of bamboo or orange peels or magic, they are still trash at the end their useful life (unless they are refillable!)


Substitute & Buy to Last: Opt for good quality, refillable pens that last a long time, and that can also potentially be passed down from generation to generation. Have one or two excellent pens instead of ten crappy ones, and see the difference. I use fountain pens, that are not as expensive as you think they are - I bought mine for less than RM50 (~USD15), while a bottle of ink set me back another RM15 (~USD 5) and lasts for a year of use (the ink, not the pen. The pen can last you your lifetime with good care). To get started on fountain pens, go here.


It doesn't cost much to be this posh!


ps: Keep reading to find out details about a super relevant giveaway!






Recycle / Compost:  The beauty of pencils is that they are designed to be used down to little stubs that can be composted. Even the pencil shavings from sharpening the pencil can be composted! Truly a rare creature in the universe of products these days. 



My father's well-used ittty bitty pencil stubs



Substitute: If you use mechanical pencils made of plastic, consider switching to the wood-based pencils that can be easily composted. 


Buy to Last: If you prefer mechanical pencils (like I do), the best option here is to buy a quality one and use them for years (mine has lasted me more than half a decade now). At the end of its life, they can be recycled in parts - if you are in the USA, send them to TerraCycle


My own mechanical pencil that has lasted me years, evidenced by the yellowing rubber!


Share: Another option for colour pencils is to participate in the sharing economy and not buy a whole set for yourself. If you are in a household, or in an office, or a community, consider buying a communal set rather than a personal set that can be shared with others around you, or consider borrowing from others who are willing to do so, especially if you only have sporadic need for them.






Eliminate: Unless you are in an office-setting that use up marker after marker on the surfaces of a lot white boards, consider eliminating markers completely. For personal, home and daily use, which probably only involves labelling things or colouring things rather than brainstorming things, other stationery can do