20 May 2016

Free For All Friday No 392 by Laurie

In theory, using a ring binder could be a very environmentally-friendly way to do your planning. If you use the same binder year after year, all you have to do is replace the diary pages. Paper is a renewable resource, and many companies use soy ink (instead of petroleum-based inks) so the ink comes from renewable resources too. The looseleaf pages have no glues or other binding agents, and are easy to recycle when you are finished with them. Save the world, use a Filofax!

Buuuuttttt, for many of us the reality is different. I buy new binders (increasing consumption and production, and using resources). I don't simply replace diary pages, I buy lots of different types of diary pages each year, and also print my own to try different formats (using ink and electricity). So, I definitely fail at what could potentially be environmentally friendliness. At least I do recycle unused pages.

Do you use your organiser in an environmentally-friendly way? Or are you more like me and tend toward planner excess?

And as always on Fridays, feel free to discuss/ ask anything ring-binder related!

10 comments:

  1. Thanks for an interesting FFAF, Laurie :)
    I think I'm fairly environmentally-friendly with how I use my binders. Yes, I have bought quite a number over the years, but will sell unused ones & normally buy second hand nowadays. I don't print any pages & have reduced my overall spending on accessories & stationery. I use up unused pages to scribble on & am currently working my way through 2011 diary inserts!

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    Replies
    1. Have you ever considered the carbon footprint for the transport of your more frequent selling and buying of binders?

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  2. I too create my insert but draw the format on lined paper. I trimmed file folders and a large pocket for dividers and a top opening envelope. I reused tabs of a previous calendar for the month dividers. In the past I bought different inserts. However I prefer to design one format and consume less paper.

    Long ago I printed labels and designed charts and inserts on the computer. It is quick and cost effective. Now I would rather use the sheets of notebooks for my weekly insert.

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  3. I make my own pages on Tomoe River Paper, most often week on two pages, but if I need day on two pages it is easy. I also do finance pages on the same paper. I have been using the same binder for years, tho I am guilty of having quite a collection of binders, mostly Winchesters, and the models which were made in Italy. Going to have to sell them. I don't buy or print any of my pages. It takes a bit more time, but I do enjoy the process.

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  4. Argh - I hear you! Like you I started with binders for environmental (and pragmatic) reasons, and now I have 8!! I do use them all for different purposes, but there would have been less resource-intensive ways for those functions. I am especially conflicted about the leather...at the beginning I tried to find one that wasn't made of leather, but I just didn't like using them enough as my "main" binder. I am not that picky with inserts - I simply use what came with the planners and punch random paper, mostly recycled, for inserts.

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  5. At the risk of being controversial, I suspect that we are deluding ourselves. True environmentalists would call our environmental claims as just "green wash". Gone are the days when a small leather workshop produced our organisers. With the exception of a couple of niche manufacturers (Van der Spek for example) most binders are produced in enormous factories in China and India by teams on low pay and less than ideal working conditions from leathers that are mass produced using large amounts of solvent, die and other treatment chemicals. They are then transported thousands of miles to us - the end consumer and increasingly sold by corporations such as the ghastly Amazon, rather than through traditional local stationers and book stores.

    Very little organiser paper sold is made from genuinely recycled pulp although - yes - much is at least now sourced from sustainable forests.

    I recognise that there are a few planner fans who still support genuinely local suppliers, who question where their leather planner has been sourced from and who use recycled paper for inserts. However, I would suggest it's a small percentage. I know I'm not as diligent in this as I should be.

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    Replies
    1. Very good prompt Tim, I don't see the green label on using a ring binder, as it is a much more labor and environmental cost intensive item to produce. Taken into account of having multiple binders I am guilty of over using global resources.

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  6. Unabashed consumer here. Never given it much thought to be honest (Feeling a little guilty now)

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  7. Unabashed consumer here as well! And unfortunately, my beloved VDS & Gillio binders don't get an environmentally friendly pass either. A study a few years back indicated that tannery workers in Italy & Sweden had a 20% -50% higher cancer risk than expected. And whilst small niche European tanneries & manufacturers may have better working conditions for employees, the tanneries themselves are generally no less polluting to the environment than large Chinese & Indian tanneries. Italy is, however, leading the way in developing tanning process that are less polluting to the environment and safer for employees.

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  8. Does anyone know if "vegetable tanned" leather is less toxic/ polluting?

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