Paper and Office Products
To write this section of the site, I’ve been reading up on paper production. Some of the information is included here. Read it and you’ll be convinced to think more about the paper and other office products you use.
So then, I started looking at all the products I use in my business and for personal use. I found a lot of products that I use without thinking too much about their production and later disposal. Paper is an obvious one, and this then extends to wrapping paper, envelopes, labels, etc. It has taken a lot of searching to find good alternatives to these products.
Then there are pens and pencils. Years ago I use to use fountain pens – the nice, refillable kind. I also had a nice ball point pen that you could buy ink replacements for – the kind that are given as gifts, sometimes inscribed, to men, along with hankies and car cleaning sets. When I had these pens, I looked after them carefully and didn’t lose them. I had one ballpoint (a $10 Parker Pen) for about 5 years, and I actually still have my favourite fountain pen, and it was bought in 1987. I used it a lot for about 8 years, but it has been put away for a while now. Compare this to my recent purchase of pens. I lose them all the time here so I bought a packet of 100 cheap disposable biros. They were all gone in about 3 months! I still use them as they’re all over the house (though not often by the telephone), but I wasn’t as careful with them.
So I’ve reassessed my pen use! Decided to go back to fountain pens so I could refill with minimal packaging, and refillable biros when something else was needed. I dug out my old, favourite fountain pen, but as it was quite dried up and a little leaky for putting in my handbag now, I wanted a new one. When I asked in shops, sometimes people would look at me as though I was mad. Other times I’d be shown a disposable (non-refillable) calligraphy pen. I asked in some newsagents if they had any pens that were refillable – the assistant would have to call the manager to ask! “We use to.” I did manage to find some for well over $100 in speciality stores.
Finally I found a nice fountain pen, and a lovely refillable biro. They’ve been almost the only pens I’ve used for about 3 months now, and I still know where they are. They’ve outlasted the 100 disposables already!
The whole experience has made me think more about how we take for granted that things wont last. It seems absurd to most people to spend much on a pen, because it is something that they assume will be lost. Yet get a good one and you may be able to make it last years. This is the same with so many products. Buy a round of take away coffees when your with friends and you’ll soon see the bin fill up. Why do we spend so much money on things that we will throw away minutes after using them, or in the case of pens, that we assume we will lose?
So think about buying yourself a nice pen. You’ll enjoy using it, and it will probably stay with you a lot longer than a cheap disposable. And then start to think about all the other disposable things you’re using, and see if you can come up with a few replacements. As with so many things, the non-disposables are often much nicer to use and end up less expensive in the long run, as well as being better for the environment and I believe, can help us take a large step from being so focused on consuming.
If you would like to purchase eco-friendly stationery, I will be adding some lovely things to my store soon. If you are local, I can sell you printer/copy paper, but if you’re not local, by the time I put postage onto it, you will be better off buying it elsewhere. I have recommended a seller in the link on the left. I will also be listing recycled envelopes, recycled handmade tissue paper, notebooks and journals, and some lovely wrapping paper. As well as these paper products, I’ve found pens and pencils that, although they’re disposable, are made from recycled goods, and coloured pencils made from sustainable timber. These should all be listed by the end of August 06. I’m still looking for nice, midpriced fountain pens to stock – happy to take suggestions if you find anything good.