9 Eco-Friendly Notebooks & Journals To Sustainably Scribble
Notebooks stick with us through it all: furious note-taking as you try to keep up with lectures, late night songwriting sessions, pages of written rant.
If you can write or draw it, notebooks can hold it—and eco-friendly notebooks can also hold our concerns for Mother Earth.
If you love using physical notebooks (apps just aren’t the same, you know?), it’s especially important to consider the ecological impact of them.
Fortunately, we could fill a whole page with all the zero waste office tips and supplies out there—including eco-friendly journals and notebooks just waiting for your ideas.
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Sustainable Journals You’re Bound To Love
Decomposition offers the classic composition notebook in a much more sustainable form, complete with 100% post-consumer recycled paper and a college ruled design.
Perfect for all your planning and intention setting, Worthwhile Paper has a planner, notepad, and other paper goods designed to keep you focused on what’s important while staying sustainable.
Made from stone and claiming the title of first climate positive notebook, Agood Company’s notebooks are beautiful, durable, and setting a standard for sustainability in paper goods.
Be sure to rifle through the pages until you get to the bottom of this article to see how we chose the best eco-friendly notebooks.
The Full List Of Eco-Friendly Notebooks & Journals
- Decomposition | Visit Store
- 1environ | Visit Store
- Agood Company | Visit Store
- PML Studio | Visit Store
- Dingbats | Visit Store
- Worthwhile Paper | Visit Store
- By Amber & Rose | Visit Store
- Environotes | Visit Store
- White Dragon Paper | Visit Store
About Decomposition’s Eco-Friendly Composition Notebooks
Price Range: $6–$11
Made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper. Decomposition notebooks are a sustainable version of the classic composition notebook.
All Decomposition notebooks are printed with soy ink, and come with either lined or grid paper. You can get them sewn or spiral notebooks, and they come in pocket, XL, and standard college ruled sizes.
If you’re more of a binder person, they also offer 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper in loose-leaf form.
A family-owned and operated company founded over 70 years ago, Decomposition strives to make eco-friendly, whimsical paper products designed to be both sustainable and lovely to use.
They also offer their eco-friendly notebooks wholesale for retailers who want to sell their products in store.
Not only is their product line 100% recycled, but it’s made using energy from recaptured landfill gasses.
About 1environ’s Eco-Friendly Recycled Paper Notebooks
Price Range: $19
Made with acid-free recycled old waste paper (created from cotton rags), 1environ’s handmade eco-friendly journals are expertly crafted and beautiful to look at.
Featuring a hand-stitched cotton binding, integrated cotton ribbon bookmark, and a paper pocket at the back, 1environ’s notebooks come in an A5 size with an option for a black or marbled recycled canvas cover.
On the whole, they’re vegan, plastic-free, and contain no added harmful chemicals.
1environ never uses plastic in their packaging. When their products absolutely require a protective covering for shipping and stocking, they use a vegetable starch based film that is 100% biodegradable.
1environ is ISO 45001 certified and details their handmade paper process on their website. We’re not certain specific details regarding labor conditions for artisans, but will be reaching out to get more information.
3. Agood Company
About Agood Company’s Eco-Friendly Dotted Journals
Price Range: $30–$36
Boasting the first climate-positive notebook in the world, Agood Company’s stone paper notebooks are setting new standards in the eco-friendly journals world.
Their stone paper is made from recycled stone byproducts from construction and factories, and is tear resistant, water-resistant, and durable.
Printed with non-toxic soy ink in dotted, lined, and blank styles, the notebooks contain no wood pulp, water, or toxic chemicals, and are vegan and cruelty-free.
But are stone notebooks eco-friendly?
Yes! While stone paper doesn’t biodegrade since it doesn’t contain carbon matter, it is PIDC lab tested and certified as photodegradable, meaning it breaks down without adverse effects when exposed to light.
Their notebooks are Cradle to Cradle and CE-certified, and come with a stone paper cover sleeve that doubles as a bookmark.
Don’t forget one of their eco-friendly pens to help you fill the pages!
About Agood Company
Certified B Corporation Agood Company puts each product they produce—stationery, cell phone cases, fashion, personal care products, and more—through a rigorous design process, requiring them to be either biodegradable, recyclable, or completely circular.
Their suppliers have to sign their Supplier Code of Conduct, and they provide a detailed impact report to tell you exactly what’s going on under the hood. Plus, they’re ISO 14001 and 9001 certified.
Products ship in packaging made from recycled and recyclable materials, and they plant trees in Zambia through WeForest to combat carbon emissions.
Also available on EarthHero.
4. PML Studios
About PML Studios’ Zero Waste Notebooks
Price Range: $10–$66
Made by award-winning artist Pauline M. Lewis, PML Studio’s notebooks are clean, minimalist design.
The paper is made with a minimum of 30% recycled materials, depending on the product line, and some notebooks have seed paper covers, so you can plant your notebook when you’re done using it.
They come in A5, A6, and B6 sizes, with slim volumes designed for easy travel and notebooks with more pages that are well-suited if you like large sustainable journals.
Some of their notebooks are personalizable, and most have the option of either dotted, lined, or blank paper.
About PML Studio
PML stands for Pauline’s initials, but also for “Peaceful, Mindful, Living,” the brand’s guiding principles.
They strive to make sustainable, eco-friendly products that support a PML lifestyle.
They use plastic free packaging and offset their carbon footprint through The Wren Climate Fund.
If you want to give your eco-friendly notebook some pizazz, check out PML’s eco-friendly compostable stickers made with Pauline’s artwork.
About Dingbats*’ Eco-Friendly Notebooks
Price Range: $25–$30
Don’t be such a Dingbat! Or maybe, do?
Dingbats* specializes in vegan journals and notebooks made out of FSC-certified paper.
Their Wildlife and Earth journal lines are covered in PU (plastic) vegan faux leather, and their Pro journal has a recycled textile cover.
While they claim to offer 100% biodegradable notebooks, we’re not fully convinced any of those with PU covers qualify. While less insidious than some, PU is technically a type of plastic.
Additionally, the Pro line offers a vague description as made with “textiles products from renewable material”, so we’ll be reaching out to clarify both of these points.
Their Wildlife collection has the biggest size range, available in A4+, A5+, A6, and A6+ sizes, with dot grid, lined, grid, and blank notebook variations.
Dingbats* is part of SKB, a company from Lebanon established in 1800, so they’ve known paper for five generations.
The brand is committed to being 100% vegan, and is EU V-Label certified, meaning that they don’t use any animal-based adhesives.
If you live on the tea side of the pond, 2% of the revenue for the sustainable notebooks UK readers buy is donated to the World Wildlife Fund UK.
6. Worthwhile Paper
About Worthwhile Paper’s Eco-Friendly Daily Journals
Price Range: $8–$32
Making planners, sketchbooks, and notebooks, Worthwhile Paper is a worthwhile choice for any sustainable journals you may need.
Their designs are screen printed in-house onto recycled paper using water-based inks.
The planner is open dated for 17 months and has both monthly and weekly spreads. Complete with space to write a weekly intention, circles for habit tracking, and a dot grid design, the planner is designed to be both eco-friendly and intention-friendly.
Each cover is 100% recycled, too.
About Worthwhile Paper
In addition to some of the most sustainable notebooks, Worthwhile Paper also offers paper tape, greeting cards, and pencils to tick off multiple items on your eco-friendly school supplies list.
Run by four full-time team members, all products are made in-house in Michigan, where their 100% hydropowered mill is also located.
Each design is lovingly created by Kristen Drozdowski, inspired by simplicity and positive energy.
All products ship plastic free, and they’ve partnered with One Tree Planted to plant a tree for every order.
7. By Amber & Rose
About By Amber & Rose’s Eco-Friendly Cotton Paper Notebooks
Price Range: $9–$60
Making eco-friendly journals UK scribblers will especially appreciate (yay, in country shipping!), By Amber & Rose is a British Etsy store with a big impact.
By Amber & Rose’s notebooks are made from khadda paper, a handmade paper that uses recycled cotton leftover from India’s garment industry.
Each notebook is hand-bound and highly durable.
While the covers are primarily leather (of which we don’t know details about processing), they also offer notebooks with covers made from upcycled saris, which use unbleached cotton that isn’t processed with chemicals.
About By Amber & Rose
Based out of the UK, By Amber & Rose considers themselves a fair trade company, regularly visiting their suppliers to ensure ethical standards.
The paper, for instance, is made by a charity in India that advocates and promotes women’s education and equitable social standing.
Producing not only notebooks, but recycled newspaper pencils, office accessories, and stationary supplies as well, By Amber & Rose strives to only use sustainable, ethically-sourced or recycled materials in their products.
About Environotes’ Eco-Friendly Spiral Notebooks
Price Range: $9–$21
Environotes makes affordable, eco-friendly notebooks for school and beyond.
Their made-in-the-USA recyclable, sustainable, ethical journals come in a multitude of variations—size, number of subjects and color—so you can have a different notebook for every subject.
Their BioBase spiral-bound notebooks line is made from 30% sugarcane agricultural waste, and 70% post-consumer waste. The Recycled line has a minimum of 30% post-consumer recycled paper.
As a general rule, all of their notebooks have college rules and margins.
Around since 1865, Environotes’ parent company Roaring Spring is based in Pennsylvania and makes a variety of paper products, and office, art, and school supplies.
They offer custom eco-friendly notebooks for schools and businesses if you want to get eco-friendly branded notebooks wholesale.
9. White Dragon Paper
About White Dragon Paper’s Eco-Friendly Recycled Notebooks
Price Range: $2.50–$175
Made with love in Wisconsin, White Dragon Paper’s notebooks feature handmade acid-free paper made from recycled waste.
Their colorful covers are made from recycled materials or leather—and since we don’t know if this leather is recycled, vegetable tanned, or traditional, we recommend opting for recycled models.
The paper comes in lined and blank pages, perfect for sustainable bullet journals, and the notebooks come in a variety of sizes, from matchbook to a larger sketchbook size.
Because the paper is handmade, there will be some variation in texture and positioning, adding to its charm.
About White Dragon Paper
White Dragon Paper is an owner-operated small business that started as a basement hobby. Now they supply not only handcrafted notebooks, but also small-batch and whole-sale sheets of paper to artists and designers.
Their orders are shipped in biodegradable and upcycled materials, including biodegradable PLA bags made from plants.
They also offer eco-friendly custom notebooks if you want your journal to have extra personal flair.
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Why Choose An Eco-Friendly Journal?
Are notebooks eco-friendly? They’re made of paper, which is natural, aren’t they?
Yes, but that’s not really a good thing. The wood pulp and paper industry consumes 33-40% of all industrial wood, globally.
This means that regular paper comes rife with potential ecological and ethical concerns.
In some areas (like China), as much as 76-80% of logging for paper and textile products is illegal, according to Greenpeace.
Even paper products bearing the official seal of sustainable forestry certifications (i.e. FSC, SFI, and PEFC) have no guarantees they didn’t come from illegally or irresponsibly logged forests.
The paper may look white, but greenwashing is a (spiral) bound.
Then there’s the potentially harmful chemical additives and processing methods to consider, like the chlorine bleaching of pages. Runoff from these manufacturing efforts leads to toxic environmental bioaccumulation.
It can be hard to find notebooks to fit into our everyday lives that are also sustainably sourced, but it’s not impossible.
Tree-based paper can be sustainably sourced with the right oversight—but given how difficult it is to determine this, it’s always best to opt for recycled pulp and other tree-free notebooks.
Since the paper industry is such a big consumer of wood, one of the ways we can protect our outdoor spaces is by using our consumer demand to show that we want environmentally conscious notebooks and journals made from sustainable and non-virgin materials.
How We Chose The Best Eco-Friendly Notebooks
Notebooks can be wonderful to write in, the feel of the physical pages adds something to the experience that typing on a laptop just doesn’t provide.
But regular paper is often irresponsibly sourced, making regular notebook usage a bit of a scribbly business.
The two primary things to keep in mind when selecting the best eco-friendly notebooks are materials and manufacturing:
One of the most important things to consider when choosing eco notebooks is choosing the best eco-friendly paper options, with recycled and alternative papers being preferable.
- Recycled paper: Uses post-consumer paper waste and transforms it into usable paper once more. Sometimes the paper is made by hand, sometimes it’s produced at scale, but all recycled paper should have at least some percentage of post-consumer content.
- FSC-certified paper: May not always be recycled, but it ensures that the trees the paper is coming from are grown in forests that have more sustainability oversight than other forestry practices. But keep in mind, the FSC is steeped in greenwashing accusations.
- Stone paper: Made from stone byproducts from industry, and is typically very durable and tear resistant. Unlike plant based papers, it doesn’t decompose, but they will completely break down over time exposed to sunlight (AKA photodegrade).
- Cotton paper: Typically made with byproducts from the garment industry, and functions much the same way as normal paper.
- Seed paper: Paper that contains seeds. Seed paper is either a tree-based or tree-free paper that has seeds mixed into the wood pulp before the paper is formed into sheets. When assembled with other biodegradable materials, this makes seed paper both compostable and plantable.
Other paper options for tree-free notebooks include bamboo, sugarcane, and dung paper (yes, animal poop paper is a thing, and yes, you should look it up). The main thing to look for is degradable and recyclable materials.
It’s also important to consider any inks used, the binding, and the cover of your eco-friendly notebook of choice.
Non-toxic ink, such as soy ink, is particularly important for printed eco-friendly notebooks, and sustainable bindings and eco-friendly covers are as much a part of an eco-friendly notebook as the paper itself.
- Certifications: Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Cradle to Cradle, European Conformity (CE), EU V-Level
Ideally, notebook companies should disclose where and how their notebooks are made, though that isn’t a widely spread practice in the industry at this time.
Good things to look for are sustainably powered factories, in-house manufacturing, renewable energy, carbon-neutral and sustainable shipping practices, and published impact reports.
- Certifications: B Corporation, International Organization for Standardization (ISO 9001), ISO 45001, ISO 14001
A Note(book) On Moleskine: Is Moleskine Eco-Friendly?
Ah, Moleskine. The cult classic hardcover notebook beloved by so many.
While Moleskine didn’t make this list for sustainability, if you’re a diehard for the brand, here is what you need to know.
Moleskine has at least a portion of their products certified by the FSC, but not all of them. They encourage the recycling of their notebooks after use, though the covers aren’t recyclable and have to be removed.
The brand is currently working on a carbon reduction plan as guided by the Paris agreements and overseen by a third-party auditor. Additionally, Moleskine and their affiliates are all part of Sedex, and 96% of their suppliers are ISO14001 certified. All third parties are required to adhere to Moleskine’s Code of Ethics.
So, are Moleskine notebooks ethical?
Well, it’s hard to say. Some of Moleskine’s products include leather, and the website doesn’t provide information about their sourcing practices. They also don’t provide detail on the factories that produce their products, nor the people who make them.
In short, Moleskine is making steps in the right direction, but they aren’t quite up to snuff for us to consider them sustainable. We’re hoping they will get more transparent in the future.
If you like the look of moleskin journals, eco-friendly alternatives include those made of biodegradable vegan leather such as cork.
Final Thoughts On Eco-Friendly Notebooks
Not everyone appreciates the art of using notebooks to keep track of all the puns for your stand-up gig. A-paper-antly.
But what most people do understand is the pleasure of a good notebook to write in.
So whether you’re a student, a creative, or just an old-fashioned paper planner person, there’s an eco-friendly notebook out there waiting for you.
Just note: The most sustainable notebooks are those you already have hidden in your desk or filing cabinet. Be sure to use those up before buying new ones—even if they’re just boring old composition books.
If you have a friend who loves scribbling as much as we do, send them this article, so they can be inspired by some of the best eco-friendly journals.