While bullet journals are amazing tools for productivity and mindfulness, one of the best parts of having one is the totally superficial fun of getting to shop for new journals when you finish one!
Not only are you coming off the high of filling up the old book but you get to order a new one too.
For me, my bullet journal is an essential tool that is with me all day everyday. So it’s a purchase I like to spend a little time deciding on and honestly I just really love an excuse to spend a few hours browsing stationery online. (Yes I’m kind of a nerd, you caught me.)
I found my current journal at a T.J. Maxx and it is made with recycled leather and eco-friendly paper, I was considering repurchasing from the brand but I can’t find a trace of them online so I can only assume they went under. So now I’m looking for a new eco-friendly bullet journal.
However, when I googled “eco-friendly journals” the majority of products and listicles I saw were greenwashed products. Specifically a large amount of Italian made journals that had covers made with recycled leather, which while that is nice, simply having a recycled cover isn’t enough in my opinion to make a journal “eco-friendly.”
Journals are made from paper which is made from trees, which are those plants that literally suck the greenhouse gases causing global warming out of the air. In my opinion, if the paper in a journal isn’t Forest Stewardship Council certified, recycled, or the company doesn’t otherwise provide information on the sustainability of their paper the product is greenwashed. (If you’re not familiar, greenwashing refers to products that are marketed as eco-friendly but actually are not.)
So, I’ve decided to compile this list for you all of the journals and notebooks I’ve found that are truly eco-friendly and not just greenwashed.
Decomposition is a full line of notebooks made from 100% post-consumer recycled materials. They sell composition books, spiral notebooks, sketchbooks, and journals in a variety of sizes and they have designs available in blank, ruled, and dot grid paper. They’re most known for their beautiful cover designs that all have a very instagrammable and hipster vibe. Unfortunately, their journal line is limited compared to their notebooks and the journals don’t share the distinct decomposition design style. However, their journals are still a good choice and you could also choose any of their notebook offerings as a bullet journal as well.
Paper Type: Recycled
Onyx and Green
Onyx and Green is a full service office supply wholesaler that creates products with recycled and sustainably sourced materials. Their journals are very unique because the paper isn’t made with trees at all but with stone! As a result, the paper is both water and tear resistant. The journals are available in ruled paper with 5 different cover designs. You can’t buy directly from Onyx and Green as a consumer but their journals are available on Amazon.
Paper Type: Stone
Dingbats is a journal company who displays endangered species and ecosystems on the front of their bright and colorful covers. The products boast a variety of sustainability features including Forest Stewardship Council paper certification, biodegradable toxin-free covers, and being 100% vegan. Their Earth line features all the bells and whistles ideal for bullet journaling including numbered pages, dot grid style, two ribbon markers, back pocket, index pages, and key pages. Their Wildlife line offers more multipurpose journals available in specialty sizes and a full range of paper types including ruled, blank, dot grid, and square grid.
Paper Type: Forest Stewardship Council certified
Rocketbook creates a line of fully reusable notebooks. You write on the pages like a regular notebook and then use their app to take photos of your notes and upload them to cloud storage. After your notes have been uploaded you can wipe off the notebook pages and reuse them indefinitely! The major downside however is that the product itself is not produced sustainably. I debated whether I wanted to include this on the list as truly sustainable, and decided to include it because if the book is reused for years and years and years as intended it would have less impact than conventional alternatives. I’d recommend this option for anyone who likes high tech gadgets and prefers to have digital access to notes.
Paper Type: Reusable
TRUEGRASSES is a Taiwanese company selling a small collection of sustainable home and office products with the slogan “bring nature into culture.” Their journals feature sleek and simple design and are made with Forest Stewardship Council certified recycled paper. TRUEGRASSES is also a member of 1% for the Planet and is partnered with three other environmental NGOs in Taiwan. In the US, their products are available on Amazon and there are two journals with a square grid and one with blank pages available.
Paper Type: Forest Stewardship Council certified recycled
These next three headings don’t contain specific product recommendations but are other methods you can use to find sustainable journals.
If you aren’t familiar with it, Etsy is an online platform for small scale artists and craftspeople to sell their goods. It’s generally more sustainable to support small scale productions and a lot of craftspeople are environmentally conscious. This is the best option if you are looking for a custom notebook as the majority of Etsy sellers provide or will accommodate customization. Just type “eco-friendly journal” into the search bar and you will see a ton of unique, artsy journals made from recycled paper to choose from.
Another option is to search specifically for a notebook that is made locally. You can search by geographical area on Etsy or shop retailers that carry local goods in person. My hometown has a craft market in the mall and my college town has co-op shop that sells goods from local artisans. You can also keep your eyes peeled at local festivals as I’ve seen local hand made journals at music fests, art fairs, flea markets, renaissance fairs, block parties, and harvest festivals. This method is of course not possible if no one happens to do notebooks in your area and tends to be quite expensive. However, it’s worth looking into if you have a big budget and enjoy supporting local businesses.
Last but not least, you can often find journals and notebooks at second hand shops, yard sales, and flea markets. This is a good option if you just aren’t picky and are very frugal. Usually these items will have minor cosmetic issues and might be missing a few pages but are still perfectly usable. I’m more sentimental about journals so I don’t tend to buy them this way but have found a ton of good notebooks for my classes this way. You could also ask around among friends and family if anyone has an unused or mostly unused journal laying around, as many people get enticed by cute journals in the store but never end up using them. You may also be able to find journals via freecycle, Facebook trading groups, or an app like Bunz. All of these methods allow you to use something that has already been purchased that might otherwise have gone to landfill.
I hope this list helped you find an actually sustainable journal you like and will enjoy using until you’ve filled up every page. Or perhaps just given you a better idea about how to go about shopping in an environmentally conscious way.
Thanks for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day.
What did you think of this post? Do you write in a journal or bullet journal regularly? What sustainable journal/office supply companies do you buy from? Let me know in the comments below.