14 Eco Friendly School Supplies & Stationery Brands For An A+ In Sustainability
From first grader to CEO, eco friendly school supplies and stationery give you the eco-edge.
Exciting as new supplies can be, they can also bring a sense of dread for parents and adults who are aiming to keep school sustainable.
Plastic packaging, toxic components, and boxes of unused landfill-bound junk, oh my!
Fortunately, sustainable stationery brands are numerous, especially among zero waste online stores.
To help fill-up your pencil case, we found at least one option in each low or zero waste school supply category.
So break out your school supply list, call over your kiddo, and use this as an opportunity to show them what conscious consumerism looks like in practice. Besides, kids can still vote for a greener world (with their parent’s dollars!).
*This post contains affiliate links
1. SPROUT WORLD PLANTABLE PENCILS
About Sprout World Zero Waste School Supplies
Ditch the plastic mechanical pencils (and plastic lead refill tubes) in favor of ones that turn into a plant.
Sustainable PEFC-FSC certified wooden Sprout World pencils have a non-toxic natural clay and graphite core.
Instead of an eraser, they’re capped with a biodegradable seed capsule. When your pencil gets too stubby to write, stick it in some soil.
Use the crafting potential of these eco friendly back to school supplies to teach your child some apartment gardening basics.
Choose from plain graphite, colored pencils, and inscribed sets. The Mindful Thoughts edition, which bears phrases like “All of us need to grow continuously in our lives”, might even help get those creative juices flowing.
About Sprout World
Sprout World has revolutionized “small everyday items with big messages” through its sustainable pencils, makeup pencil, and the original SproutSPOON.
All plantable, all zero waste.
The product range seems small, but it’s making a big impact by giving some truly sustainable alternatives to commonly wasted products.
As members of the UN Global Compact corporate citizenship initiative, they’re always working to improve their practices and reduce their impact. For instance, they use just 30 trees to manufacture 7,500,000 pencils.
For all sustainable business practices, goals, and progress over the years, see the full report.
2. AMBER + ROSE RECYCLED NEWSPAPER PENCILS
About Amber + Rose Recycled School Supplies and Stationery
Another eco friendly pencil option is “tree-free” recycled newspaper pencils like those by Amber + Rose.
These HB soft graphite pencils are comprised entirely of recycled newspapers and magazines.
No wood at all, and they look pretty to boot.
With an easy peel-to-sharpen design, they’re perfect for kids—and you can compost the peels to help them learn fun composting facts.
They also make a wide selection of recycled paper notebooks. The paper is handmade khadda paper, made from recycled cotton, while cover materials vary between recycled paper and leather.
Some leather is recycled, while others don’t specify. Since we’re not sure about sourcing and processing of the non-recycled leather, we can’t say if these could be considered eco friendly cruelty free stationery.
About Amber + Rose
Located in Lewes, UK, eco friendly school supplies by Amber + Rose are just a small taste of what they make.
Their Etsy shop also provides office decorations and thoughtful gifts like photo albums, journals, coasters, and photo frames.
Their products are handmade by several different sustainable enterprises and they “reject mass manufacturing”.
The recycled pencils, for instance, are hand-rolled by a Fair Trade certified social enterprise in Sri Lanka.
To ensure plastic free stationery, their packaging consists of compostable materials, like unbleached paperboard boxes.
3. AGOOD COMPANY PENS
About AGood Company’s Zero Waste Office Supplies
Their grass pen is made from natural meadow grass and BPA-free recycled plastics.
For a durable metal pen, the Humanium Metal Pen features upcycled illegal firearms. It’s “a testament that the pen is mightier than the sword”, especially since 25% of every sale goes toward projects tackling violent crime.
For zero waste stationery, Agood offers notebooks and diaries from recycled construction debris.
About Agood Company
Agood Company is one of few climate positive eco friendly stationery manufacturers—though sustainable office supplies are far from all they make.
You’ll also find eco friendly phone cases, reusable water bottles, and more.
Across it all, they use thoughtful materials like recycled plastics, wheat straw agricultural waste, reclaimed concrete, or easily recyclable materials like stainless steel.
They work with factories that have ethical labor standards and sustainable resource use, like their pen factory that’s powered by renewable biogas and waste heat.
Their shipping materials are made of made from reused items and printed with soy ink.
Through WeForest, they plant trees for every purchase in Zambia where small-scale farmers can benefit from training while doing so.
Available: AGood Company
4. ONYX + GREEN SCISSORS, GLUE, & RUBBER ERASERS
About Onyx + Green Eco Friendly School Supplies
Onyx + Green believes all school supplies can be sustainable school supplies.
Even tricky items, like glue, which they make using entirely plant-based non toxic ingredients.
You’ll also find anti-microbial recycled plastic scissors, recycled rubber erasers, and rarer items like bamboo protractors and push pins.
If you love writing on your environmentally friendly stationery with gel pens, they make a sustainable version of those, too, using a corn-based bioplastic body.
About Onyx + Green
Onyx + Green is perhaps the biggest name in eco friendly school supply brands.
In their words: “The greener, the better”.
Theirs are made mostly with post-consumer and post-industrial recycled and natural materials, like bamboo, stone, cornstarch, ramie, jute, and sugar cane.
As of now, however, not everything fits our definition of sustainable office supplies, as some still come with non zero waste components, so be extra mindful when selecting supplies.
Most packaging consists of at least partially recycled cardboard printed with soy ink, but some plastic is still used so they’re not entirely a ‘no waste school supplies’ brand.
Products are all “responsibly made in China”.
5. PLASTIC FREE Bamboo Pencil Sharpener
About Plastic Free Zone Sustainable Stationary UK
Plastic Free Zone stands out for their bamboo pencil sharpener, as one of the only eco friendly school supply brands to offer this alternative.
Beyond that, however their range extends to plastic free pens, regular and coloring pencils, bamboo rules, and a pencil case made from recycled plastic.
In the way of eco friendly stationery, this UK brand makes a variety of FSC-certified notebooks and notepads with recycled covers and acid-free, natural adhesive paper tape that’s a recyclable alternative to plastic sellotape.
About Plastic Free Zone
This UK-based Etsy shop is aptly named since they make just about everything to create your own Plastic Free Zone.
Sustainable school supplies aside, they also offer other low waste living essentials, from reusable storage tins to certified natural personal care products.
This includes cold processed soaps, shampoos, tooth tabs, and more, all of which are vegan.
However, they do appear to contain common palm oil derivatives.
All products are shipped plastic free.
6. FIRIRI HANDWOVEN COTTON PENCIL CASE
About Firiri Sustainable School Supplies Canada
Now you need something plastic free to store all those plastic free school supplies.
If you don’t have a ditty bag lying around the house check out the100% cotton zippered pencil bags from Firiri.
Available in many colors, each bag is handwoven by underprivileged women in rural Nepal.
The thick, ultra durable weave is designed to last, even when it gets buried under your sustainability books in your backpack.
The name Firiri is inspired by a popular Nepalese folk song. Vancouver-based founder Valeria Bogdachev started the company to specifically help the women in communities of rural Nepal.
They’ve been “empowering women since 2014” with no signs of stopping soon.
Not only does production provide jobs for women, but all profits are donated toward causes like education, free medical camps in Nepal’s Solkha district, and rebuilding rural Himalayan villages destroyed by natural disasters.
7. DECOMPOSITION Eco Friendly NOTEBOOKS
About Decomposition Zero Waste Office Supplies.
The best sustainable notebooks we found are the Decomposition Books.
These lovely college-ruled decomposition books are an excellent non-toxic and compostable note-taking solution. Each page is made of 100% post-consumer recycled paper.
With so many nature-inspired cover designs printed using soy inks, you can get something different for each subject or mood.
They also offer spiral-bound notebooks, but we’d opt for no spiral bindings to keep it minimalist.
Decomposition by Michael Roger Inc makes all manner of ethical sustainable stationery, including notebooks, sketchbooks, and greeting cards.
All are made from recycled content and their production methods are powered by recaptured landfill gas (which is so cool).
This company has been making decomposition books for nearly 70 years when they started with just two designs.
8. PML STUDIO PLANTER JOTTER NOTEBOOKS
About PML Studio Eco Friendly Stationery USA
Simple and elegant, PLM Studio’s Planter notebooks are 30% recycled and bound with wax thread.
School, work, sketching, journaling, or just making lists, it’s versatile and a solid choice for students from all walks of life.
You can choose between blank, lined, or 3mm grid dot sheets (which would be perfect as graphic paper for math class).
They measure 5” x 7” and come with a choice of either 30 or 60 sheets. You can also order them either individually or in packs of three or six.
After you’re done with the notebook, you can compost the pages and plant the seed paper cover to grow wildflowers like Snapdragon, Bird’s Eye, Black-Eyed Susan, Clarkia, Sweet Alyssum, and Catchfly.
How’s that for cool eco friendly stationery?!
You’ll also find thicker non-adhesive bound travel journals and eco friendly recycled stickers.
About PML Studio
PML stands for Pauline M. Lewis, an award-winning artist based in New York.
Aside from running this eco friendly stationery brand, she creates studio paintings revolving around gender politics, illustrates children’s books, and draws her own comic strips.
The stickers available in her shop all bear Pauline’s artwork.
9. UNITED BY BLUE ECO FRIENDLY BACKPACKS
About United By Blue Backpacks
What good are eco friendly school supplies without a way to tote them?
Backpacks take a beating, so choosing a quality product will save you (money and whatever else might fall out of them) in the long term.
Theirs are made of natural materials like organic waxed cotton canvas, or vegetable dyed REPREVE recycled polyester. With double stitching and DWR finishes, these are designed to last.
For smaller kids, the Whittier Youth Backpack is a fun and funky option, while the BLUFF Utility Backpack is more suited for a college campus commute.
They have many designs and sizes, many with internal laptop sleeves for dual function.
About United By Blue
United By Blue is an outdoor lifestyle brand that sells everything the eco-conscious outdoor lover needs.
This includes clothing like sustainable rain jackets, camp supplies, everyday reusables, and pet gear.
They’re a certified B-Corp that partners with Fair Trade and GOTS-certified factories and aim to make as little impact as possible.
For every product sold, they sponsor the removal of one pound of trash from the world’s oceans.
Available: United By Blue
10. BY COPALA LAPTOP SLEEVES
About BY COPALA Eco Friendly Office Supplies
The cork fabric used in most provides padding and water resistance while the cotton liner protects from scratches.
Other laptop sleeves are made of kraft paper lined with cotton or laminated leaves of the Tong Tung tree.
At end of life, just cut out the metal snaps and compost everything else.
While mostly designed for Macbooks, the many different sizes available ensure you can find something for every shape and size of laptop.
About BY COPALA
From Hamburg, Germany, Sujittra loved coming up with “smart and functional designs” out of recycled natural materials like cork, kraft paper, wood, and leaves.
Everything she makes is 100% compostable. Like the eco friendly school and office bags, pencil cases and kraft paper backpacks.
11. EARTH GROWN ZERO WASTE CRAYONS
About Earth Grown Eco Friendly Kids School Supplies
Conventional crayons are made of petroleum-based paraffin and are tinted with chemical dyes.
All ingredients are sourced from American farms and have been grown without pesticides or herbicides.
In addition to traditional sticks, these crayons also come in fun shapes (like dinosaurs and fish) to stimulate kids’ creativity.
These zero waste school supplies are packaged in an uncoated cardboard box with shredded cardboard filling.
About Earth Grown
Shop owner Melissa is a mother of three, and “fell in love with making crayons by accident”
Her grandfather was a soybean farmer, which was largely part of her inspiration to use soy as a material.
She’s based in Minneapolis, Minnesota and handmakes all the zero waste school supplies in her own kitchen.
12. ECO-KIDS ECO ART SUPPLIES
About eco-kids Eco Friendly Kids School Supplies USA
eco-kids makes some of the best eco friendly school supplies for creative kiddos.
Their selection includes art pads, paint, dough, rulers, sidewalk chalk, origami kits, and more.
Their Eco Art pad is comprised of FSC and Rainforest Alliance-certified post-consumer agricultural waste. Specifically pinzotes, or the discarded stalks from banana trees.
Each sheet is solid enough to be suitable for markers, crayons, or their food-safe, organic fruit and vegetable pigmented paints.
From eco-dough to beeswax crayons, everything is A-okay for even the youngest kids—being food safe, all-natural, and non-GMO—who might be tempted to put things in their mouths.
For sustainable art supplies, eco-kids stock crayons to playdough, they craft all manner of non-toxic, natural ingredient art and craft supplies.
Everything a little aspiring artist needs for “creative play, the natural way”.
They’re a family-run company based in Maine, where they make everything.
Rounding out these environmentally friendly school supplies, the packaging consists of eco materials, too.
13. WORTHWHILE PAPER RECYCLED TAPE & SUSTAINABLE STATIONERY
About Worthwhile Paper Recycled Stationery & Tape
Who says sustainable school supplies need to be boring?
Worthwhile Paper offers a charming selection of sustainable stationery products.
Their non toxic paper Washi tape features all kinds of decorative designs, as do their greeting cards, notebooks of every variety, sketchbooks, planners, journals, calendars, notepads, and pencils.
All notebooks are 100% recycled, cover and pages.
You can decorate your zero waste stationery with their rubber stamps made of renewable natural red rubber with a maple mount and linen storage bag.
About Worthwhile Paper
Worthwhile Paper is in the business of “delivering positive energy in paper form”.
As far as sustainable stationery brands go, they’re one of the best, making everything by hand in their workshop in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Artist and founder Kristen Drozdowski creates the designs while her partner Steve transfers them onto the unique eco friendly stationery using water-based screen printing and hand-mixed inks.
Their paper is sourced from a local Michigan mill that’s 100% hydro-powered.
Their own studio implements recycling and reuse practices and all orders are shipped virgin plastic free by way of kraft paper or upcycled padding from orders they receive.
Your new eco friendly and plastic free stationery also means a new tree planted through One Tree Planted.
14. PRINTWORKS RECYCLED PRINTER PAPER
About Printworks Sustainable Office Supplies
Not only is Printworks paper made of 100% recycled post-consumer waste (specifically from food and beverage containers), it’s FSC-certified and chlorine-free.
Unlike many recycled paper products that get shipped to Asia and back again, the waste is collected and remade entirely in the USA only 300 miles from the mill.
This reduces carbon emissions from shipping more than their bulk 20-pound boxes that reduce reorder frequency already does.
It’s just as affordable as traditional copy paper, too.
Printworks is an office paper-product supply company.
They offer colored cardstock, photo paper, printable labels, and CD envelopes.
We suggest sticking to their eco friendly office supplies, as not all their products are equally as sustainable.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON SUSTAINABLE SCHOOL & OFFICE STATIONERY
Sustainability for kids (and adults) can get a kick-start with eco friendly stationery.
You have no need (or excuse) to buy plastic stationery when there are so many alternatives made by sustainable stationery companies.
Just remember to first use what you have. The most eco friendly school supplies are the ones you already own. Or try your local thrift store for some secondhand stationary steals.
As for last year’s leftovers you don’t intend to use, donate them to local schools or recycle them through Terracycle.
If you liked this article on low waste school supplies, share it with a sustainably-minded student or eco-anxious parent who already prepping for next year’s back to school plastic crusade.