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How to journal like a wild thing – and still be kind to the planet

As lovers of the Earth and of beautiful stationery, we have a responsibility to think about how our use of stationery impacts the environment. This means carefully considering the origins of our stationery, choosing products that are made from sustainable materials using ethical and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes, and being mindful of how we dispose of our stationery items.

In this article, we’ll examine why it’s so important to choose sustainable stationery over traditional stationery, what to look for when selecting sustainable stationery, and how to properly dispose of stationery in order to reduce your carbon footprint.

Why choose sustainable stationery?

1. Reducing deforestation and improving sustainability

Deforestation is one of the 14 biggest environmental issues we’re facing in 2023. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) estimates that, over the decade since 2010, ten million hectares of forest were cut down each year. And, in 2019, the Global Forest Watch project – using satellite imagery – reported a global tree loss of around 24 million hectares. 

These statistics are pretty scary. And, we’re not “just” losing trees... 

Every forest forms the habitat for hundreds of species of animals, insects and birds. So, forest loss leads to other environmental crises, including increased carbon emissions, species extinctions and loss of biodiversity (another item on the ‘14 biggest environmental issues’ list).

But it’s not all doom and gloom…

We can do something about this and actually reverse deforestation. In fact, experts agree that a future with more people and more forest is possible, provided we make some changes.

One thing we can do is to choose stationery that’s designed and created with sustainability in mind. 

By choosing eco-friendly sustainable stationery, you can help to reduce the amount of virgin materials that are harvested from our forests and other natural resources, reducing your impact on the environment and contributing to a more sustainable future.  



At Notely, we’re committed to replanting the planet, one note at a time. In fact, we aim to replant 100,000 trees by 2025. You can read more about  our mission to replant the planet, and find out how you can help, here.



2. Reducing waste and pollution 

Traditional stationery often ends up in landfills, where it can take many years to decompose. Eco-friendly stationery, on the other hand, is often biodegradable or compostable, which means it will break down naturally and won't contribute to the buildup of waste.

3. Reducing your environmental footprint

Fossil fuels involved in the production of traditional stationery can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. 

 When you choose eco-friendly stationery, made from sustainable materials and produced using non-toxic environmentally friendly practices, you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint and mitigating the impact on climate change.

4. Promoting ethical production

Many eco-friendly stationery companies are committed to ethical production practices, including fair labour and wages for workers. By choosing these companies, you’ll be supporting ethical business practices and helping to ensure that workers are treated fairly.

5. Supporting sustainable companies 

Choosing eco-friendly products means that you are supporting companies, like Notely, that prioritise sustainability and environmental responsibility. 

By choosing companies that are committed to reducing their carbon footprint and creating a positive impact on the environment, you’ll be contributing to the growth of sustainable businesses and helping to create a better future for the planet.

6. Beauty – pure and simple!

Sustainable stationery can be as beautiful and stylish as it is functional and environmentally friendly. 

Notely’s Artist Collection for example, delivers all the proof required that – far from being plain or boring – eco-friendly stationery can be eye-catching and inspiring. Curated by Notely founder and graphic designer Jenica Smith, in collaboration with local artists and illustrators, the Artist Collection includes notebooks, journals, wall planners and cards. The aim being to make beautiful art accessible to stationery lovers who also care about the planet. 

What to look for in sustainable, eco-friendly stationery 

Here are a three key features that distinguish sustainable stationery from traditional stationery.

1. Sustainable materials

Eco-friendly, sustainable notebooks, journals and stationery products are made from renewable, recyclable or biodegradable materials, like recycled paper, bamboo, cork and in some cases, even stone. 

These materials are more “sustainable” than traditional paper and wood-based products because they use fewer resources and are less damaging to the environment. 

Recycled, renewable and biodegradable materials

Unlike plastic, which takes many hundreds of years to decompose, sustainable materials such as bamboo, hemp or cork are renewable and biodegradable, and they require less energy to produce than traditional paper. 

Recycled materials are materials that have already been used and are subsequently processed to remove any impurities prior to reuse. Creating stationery from recycled materials not only decreases the amount of waste going to landfills but also reduces the need for virgin materials to be harvested and processed. 



Recycling 1 tonne of paper saves around 1400 litres of oil, 26,500 litres of water and 17 trees.



Non-toxic plant-based inks

Truly sustainable eco-friendly stationery should be printed in non-toxic, vegetable-based inks – a renewable resource that eliminates the need to use harmful solvents during the printing process.

2. Sustainable production

Choose a stationery supplier who uses eco-friendly production methods.

Energy and water efficiency

The manufacturing of traditional stationery is a resource-intensive process, requiring large amounts of energy and water. 

Eco-friendly stationery products are made using sustainable production methods, such as renewable energy and water-saving practices that have a significantly smaller impact on the environment. 

Non-toxic processes

Eco-friendly notebooks, journals and stationery products manufactured using non-toxic and environmentally friendly processes are also free from harmful chemicals or toxins that can damage the environment.

By using these products, you’ll be helping to reduce the amount of pollution and waste generated in the production of stationery. It’s a small step that can make a big difference!

3. Sustainable packaging and shipping

Make sure that your stationery supplier is mindful of the impacts of packaging and shipping on the environment.

Minimal and plastic free packaging

The use of plastic packaging contributes to waste and environmental harm. Choose products with minimal packaging or packaging made from recycled materials to reduce your environmental footprint.

Carbon neutral shipping

Choose a stationery supplier that uses carbon neutral shipping methods.

Local Australian-made products

By choosing locally made products you’ll be helping to reduce unnecessary carbon emissions from transport and supporting your local print industry. 

For more detail on the importance of purchasing Australian-made products take a look at our blog articleon the subject.

How to dispose of your sustainable stationery items

One of the big benefits of using sustainable stationery products is that they are incredibly easy to dispose of in environmentally sound ways. 

For the most part, all you need to do is to take the staples out and pop your used notebooks, journals, wall planners and cards directly into your curbside recycling bin.

For spiral-bound notebooks, you’ll need to remove the coils before placing the rest of the notebook in the recycling  bin. Metal coils from spiral notebooks can be recycled as scrap metal. 

Alternatively, you could upcycle your metal and/or plastic coils by turning them into decorative items and art work. It’s not only a great way to teach kids about repurposing, but also an opportunity to express your creativity!

Yes, you CAN journal like a wild thing AND save the planet!

If, like us, you love the feel of pen (or pencil) on paper but hate the impact it has on the environment, you’re going to love Notely stationery. 



Each Notely product has been specially designed to deliver the best surface for doodling, sketching, planning, dreaming and jotting down your most important thoughts – without compromising our environment.



We don’t claim to be perfect on the sustainability front, but we are always working to do better and provide like-minded note-takers, journalers, sketchers, doodlers and creatives across Australia with the tools they need to express themselves, while still being kind to the earth. You can read more about our commitment to sustainability here

All our products, including our notebooks, journals, wall planners and cards, are made from 100% FSC-certified paper, printed with non-toxic plant-based using FSC-certified printing methods. 

The covers of our Cup Notes series of notebooks are made using a mix of paper from recycled coffee cups. Since 90% of the waste from each coffee cup is converted into FSC-certified recycled paper fibre, no virgin tree fibres are used and each book keeps one coffee cup out of landfill.

We’re passionate about keeping the Notely experience entirely plastic free by using recycled paper bands and tags and 100% compostable postage bags. Plus, we minimise packaging wherever we can to ensure our products create as little waste as possible.

Every Notely product is designed, printed and bound right here in Australia – eliminating unnecessary carbon emissions from transport and supporting our local print industry. 

And, when you buy from us, your package will arrive via Australia Post, which offers a 100% carbon neutral delivery service. Find out more about their carbon neutral program here.

Start building your sustainable stationery collection today! 

Browse our incredible range of stunning notebooks, journals, wall planners, writing pads, cards and more. 

Got questions about our products and/or how to recycle them? Simply reach out to our friendly team. We’re happy to help.