#1: NOTEBOOK, NO SPIRALS
Spiral notebooks go to the landfill because the twirly bits (the spiral) junks up the recycling machines and/or generally decreases the value of the recyclable paper. And, let’s be real. Do you take the time to rip off all the pages from the spiral, so you can at least recycle the paper?
Stitched, Non-Tear Out:
- Environotes non-spiral Notebooks are neat – and the paper is made from sugarcane fiber in the U.S.A. Wisdom Supply Co also offers non-spiral notebooks that are cheaper. You may also be able to find non-spiral notebooks at your local store.
#2: NO-PLASTIC PENCIL SHARPENER THAT WILL LAST FOREVER
Buy it once and have it forever. No electricity or plastic is needed in this manual pencil sharpener. Attach it to your wall, a bookshelf, or a table.
#3: NO-PLASTIC SCISSORS OR LOW PLASTIC SCISSORS.
The only true non-plastic scissors are offered by Wisdom Supply Co (Westcott Forged scissors) and Tanegashima. The Kai scissors do have plastic on the handles, but they are such good scissors I added them to the list.
- Axis 9″ – $20
- NinePeak 9″ – $25
- Super Scissors – 9″ – $28
- Guggenhein 9″ – $35
- Parveen 9″ – $50 (check for better prices on Amazon, etc)
- Parveen 12″ – $80 (check for better prices on Amazon, etc)
- Kai 7230: 9″ – $65
- Tanegashima 22.7cm (8.9″) – $156
- BANSHU HAMONO 8.3″ – $230
- Parveen Quick Snip Spring – $10 (check for better prices on Amazon, etc)
- Parveen Length of Scissors 5.25” | Cutting Blade Length 2.5” – $20 (check for better prices on Amazon, etc)
- Kai 7100 4.24″| Cutting Blade Length almost 1″ – $45
- Kai 7150 6″ – $50
Wiss W20 10-3/8-Inch Inlaid Heavy Duty Industrial Shears or other sizes that are similar
#4: NO-PLASTIC RULER
- Options A: stainless steel: Wood River, 12″ (300mm) cabinetmaker’s rule is also an excellent value. It is made of hardened stainless steel with deeply engraved graduations. The finest graduations are in 64th and .5 mm. The rear face displays an inch to metric and fraction to decimal conversion table.
- Option B: mostly wood: Wescott, 12″
#5: BIODEGRADABLE TAPE
Just because something is biodegradable, doesn’t mean it will degrade QUICKLY. I don’t really know how much better the cellulose tape is than regular plastic ‘scotch’ tape. Just had to share this disclaimer. But I think the paper packing tape is probably much better than regular plastic packing tape.
- “scotch” tape: cellulose 1″, found at http://www.LifeWithoutPlastic.com. It is tearable. Obviously not as convenient as the tapes that come in the PLASTIC dispensers, but isn’t it worth it? That plastic dispenser is an arrogant convenience.
- Packing tape – biodegradable: gummed paper tape 2″, found at http://www.LifeWithoutPlastic.com. works well with a sea sponge which can be found at hardware stores.
#6: COMPOSTABLE AND RECYCLABLE BINDERS!
With the Guided Professional Binder, you can remove the abused cover, recycle it, and replace with a new cover – Zero Landfill. Pair them with no-plastic tabbed binder dividers. To replace the cover, unscrew two screw, and then replace with the new cover! Super simple.
- Spine Width 1.56″ W
- Front and Back Cover Size: 10.5″ W x 11.625″
#7: NO-PLASTIC, NO WASTE, MARKERS!
“We (humans) throw “away” a stunning amount of markers (many hundreds of millions per year). And what for? What really justifies the use of a marker that will inevitably dry out and then exist on the planet longer than we can fathom? Kid’s drawings? Poster Projects??”
- For school, try the Dermotograph Goldstar China Marker Wax Peel “markers”
- and for bright, vibrant color that glides onto the page with no smearing, could try the Caran D’Ache Wax Pastels (when budgets allow)
#8: NO-PLASTIC HIGHLIGHTERS!
- Dermotograph Goldstar China Marker Wax Peel “markers” (larger tip)
- Ability One Ultra Fine-Tip China Marker (yellow)
The Ability One China Markers are mechanically advancing, but the China Wax Peel markers must be hand-peeled, to reveal more wax. Skip to minute three of this video to see how to do this.
#9: COLORED PENCILS
Forest Stewardship Council Certified. Forest Choice 12 real cedar wood colored pencils.
#10: PENCILS – NO WASTE, NO-METAL, NO VINYL ERASERS
German company Staedtler offers pencils as they were first made – without erasers. Erasers ON pencils with metal ferules to hold them in places are, of course, a wasteful American invention! Buy the pink toxin-free erasers below, and pencils without erasers. If you want to get REALLY nerdy, you can get a ‘pencil-extender’ to make sure you waste not! 😉 Search for these pencils online to see where you can find the best deal.
#11: NO-PLASTIC, NO-TOXINS NATURAL RUBBER ERASER
Charles Leonard natural rubber eraser. If you buy them from the manufacture, you have to buy 24. If you buy from Wisdom Supply Co, you can buy only one, if you want.
There are other non-toxic erasers out there, but they are much more expensive, such as this Tombow Mono eraser from Dick Blick, for $5.16, which is made with natural latex and silica. This Prismacolor Artgum eraser may be made of non-toxic materials, but you’d have to research more to know for sure…it is $0.89.
Conventional erasers are made from a variety of substances that I personally don’t want to add to the dust of the home when the bits get swiped off the paper onto the floor. Some may read this and think I’ve taken things too far, but if we’re going to clean up our homes, there’s no reason to not seek out natural erasers. Just because it’s a small item, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be considered.
#12: REFILLABLE PENS
If you want to get fancy, try some old fashioned wood “pens” with metal tips, and make your own ink from black walnut hulls! I’ve made mine in the following way, but I’m sure there are easier ways to be found on the internet:
- the whole fruits turned brown cuz i left them sit a while
- peeled the skin/flesh from the nuts
- soaked the flesh/skins in water for 6 months. yes, this is ridiculous and unecessary – i simply didn’t get around to it until that point (; i boiled it for a while, let it cool, then strained – i used a fine sieve. a piece of muslin would be better.
I’ve heard that you can add a bit of alcohol to the final ink to preserve it, but i didn’t do this. one of my containers of ink was accidentally open to the air and it did mold a bit. my other jar (mason jar) that closed tightly has kept fine.
#13 WATERCOLOR PAINTS / GLASS MARKERS (WATER SOLUBLE) / CRAYON / GREASE PENCIL / GREASE MARKER / MARKING
- Stabilo Sharpenable! These are the coolest. If you use them on paper, and then take a paintbrush to it, you will have watercolors!
- Listo mechanical advance grease pencil
- Markal Trades-Marker®, mechanical advance, water-soluble, paper-wrapped
- Ability One / SkilCraft Ultra Fine-Tip China Marker (Black and Yellow) grease pencil
- All-Write mechanical advance grease pencil
#14: DRY ERASE MARKERS FULL SET WITH REFILL INK
There are two options here.
- The first is a sharpenable ‘dry erase marker,’ (Stabilo brand).
- The other option is: “Auspen Brand Refillable Dry Erase Markers
- Aluminum Barrel
- Replaceable Nibs
- Endlessly Refillable
Math: 6 (endlessly refillable) Pens x 6 Bottles of Ink = (conservatively) the equivalent of 114 disposable dry erase pens. Each bottle of ink will refill a pen 18 times (25 drops per refill)
#15: METAL HOLE-PUNCH
Vintage Wilson Jones Hummer or Boston hole punches can be found on ebay or Etsy.
#16: NO-PLASTIC PENCIL CASE
Look on Etsy for these. I recommend RainbowBeeDesign, because she actually applies the beeswax to the fabric herself, rather than buying a toxic fabric that is pre-waxed with who-knows-what-wax. Here is a link to her pencil case: https://www.etsy.com/listing/517402743/pencil-pouch-gift-for-artists-artist.
Here is a link to a canvas pencil case on Amazon for $8: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JTGEVJC/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A2U2HP2MJM8J7H&psc=1
#17: NO-SPIRAL WEEKLY PLANNER – USE FOR ANY YEAR!
Wisdom Supply’s staples (sewn) three hole punched weekly planner has no dates – you put those in yourself, so you can use it anytime…you don’t have to throw it away at the end of the year if you don’t use it.
Spirals aren’t recyclable, so if you want to recycle this at the end of its life, make sure it doesn’t have a spiral!
#18: NO-PLASTIC FOLDERS
These wear out each year, regardless if they’re plastic-ish, or if they’re recycled paper, so we might as well go with the humble recycled paper, from Roaring Spring Environotes.
#19: NON-TOXIC GLUE
Make your own wheat paste glue anytime you need it by simply mixing water with white flour until it has the consistency of pancake batter. After a few minutes, it should be ready to brush onto your paper like regular glue – this tutorial shows it being used to paste paper labels to glass jars.