10 March 2022

Paper Planning and the Environment

I think that most people that read this blog care about the environment in some way or other. 

A question that came up during the last Philofaxy Round-Table chat was: 

'How environmentally friendly is paper planning?'

I didn't know the answer, but we started discussing the various aspects. 

If you are a Filofax user there are the following to consider:

  • Paper production
  • Leather production 
  • Non-leather materials
  • Transportation
Our use of paper is obviously key to our use of a Filofax. There are various aspects to the make up of paper. Is it made from recycled paper or paper from sustainable managed forests

I found this web page that goes in to the detail which is worth reading. 

The production of paper does use significant amounts of water and energy. 

I always to buy my A5 paper locally. 

The tanning process for leather can use considerable quantities of water and chemicals, although there are methods that don't use nasty chemicals and there are strict restrictions on the treatment of the water before it is reused or disposed of. 

Here is a web page that explores topic of eco-leather in more detail.

Non-leather products
I understand why people prefer vegan products. However, a lot of non-leather products use petrol chemicals to make them. Are there plant based materials that could be used as a suitable cover material? 

May be cork as mentioned along with other non-leather products are mentioned on this web page.

Buying locally will of course reduce your impact on the environment. If you are ordering on-line there is no telling where an item will be transported from to get to you. Even the delivery time will not give you a clue given how quickly things are air-freighted these days. 

Given the long life of a lot of our Filofax organisers, longer in general than your average smartphone in terms of still being usable over 10 years after you bought it or longer... what impact does a smartphone have on the environment in comparison through it's whole life cycle (production, use, disposal)?

Could your use of a Filofax be even more friendly to the planet? 


  1. This is a good question, as nowadays you have to think about products that you are using and how they are created. I think it is important for how long a product is in use. When you use a leather cover for years and years, then why not? When you buy a T-Shirt and throw it away after a week, maybe not. The trend to use "vegan leather" is maybe nice to save some cows but then you have plastic in your hands, I don't know if that is better. Cows die anyway because we eat them, and if that leather can be used, why not? Or maybe covers made out of wood? There is a company in Germany, Jungholz, who creates wood covers, not with rings, but for bound books. That's a lifetime investigation and worth it. I guess this is an overall thinking which has to come back: buy something which can be repaired and can be used for a long time.

  2. Also, we can be aware that digital transport and storage of data consumes a lot of energy. E-mails, calendars etc. in large amounts use a lot of electricity resources. So I believe paper is good.

  3. Another thing to consider is the wide and robust trading and reselling of Filofaxes that goes on. I recently bought a very gently used Lockwood, and while I have no use for the pile of 2014 calendar and address inserts that came with it, I will still use every single one of them as note paper and scratch paper.

    This article forever changed my view of computers and batteries.
    I read it a year ago, and it still makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. https://www.digitaljournal.com/world/baotou-a-toxic-lake-created-because-of-a-thirst-for-technology/article/430511

  4. Surely the best option is something made out of card and paper. A recyclable option. Probably notebook based.