Journaling is a mindful self-care activity that’s fun and good for our mental health. Having a regular journaling practice helps decrease stress, reduce our screen time, and boosts creativity. However, traditional journals and notebooks aren’t always the most sustainable products. Journals are made from paper, and typically not reusable, so if you’re an avid journaler this waste can add up. Thankfully, there are numerous eco-friendly journals to choose from to minimize your impact.
In this article, we’ll break down what eco journals are, what to look for before buying, and the best eco-friendly notebooks to choose from.
What Are Eco-Friendly Journals?
Eco-friendly journals are any journals that are made from sustainable materials and produced in an environmentally conscious way. Traditional journals are made from paper but paper production is a largely wasteful practice that contributes to water pollution and deforestation.
Choosing eco-friendly journals is a great way to combat this. Eco notebooks are made from upcycled and recycled paper or natural tree-free paper.
What Should You Look For From Sustainable Notebooks?
Notebooks can be made from a variety of sustainable materials, and produced in various ways, to be considered eco-friendly. If you’re trying to figure out if that notebook you love is indeed eco-friendly, look for one or more of the following:
- Recycled Paper
- Tree-free paper made from stone, hemp, or other natural materials
- Plant-based Ink
- Handmade/Artisan made
- FSC Certified
Where to Buy Eco-Friendly Journals:
Eco-friendly journals are more common than ever, which makes it easy to find them at any retailer that sells journals. Try to prioritize supporting sustainable businesses, however, to ensure that both the materials and production process used are eco-friendly.
You can also look for handmade options from independent artisans such as on Etsy or in local stores or markets.
Below you’ll find our 15 favorite places to buy eco-friendly journals! Note that the following includes some affiliate links. As always, we only share brands that meet strict criteria for sustainability we love — and that we think you’ll love too.
Sustainable Highlights: Non-toxic Toner, Gives Back, Black-Owned
Aya Paper Co. is your one-stop shop for all your eco-friendly paper needs. Here you’ll find a beautiful, thoughtfully curated collection of eco-friendly journals as well as cards, calendars, and prints.
This Certified B-Corp uses FSC Certified recycled, chlorine-free paper. Produced locally and through a carbon-neutral process, you won’t find plastic in their products. Black woman-owned, Aya Paper Co. also gives back to the local community through education and advocacy work.
Sustainable Highlights: Plastic-Free Shipping; Recyclable; Locally Made
Another wonderful option to consider is these “no waste notebooks” from Wisdom Supply Co. They wanted to create notebooks that make it easier for students to reduce waste. Their accessible price point also helps.
Not only is this notebook fully recyclable, but the cover is made from 100% recycled materials with 30% post-consumer waste paper. These notebooks are fully plastic-free and available in five variations: college-ruled, graph paper, sketchbooks, storybooks, or bullet journals.
Sustainable Highlights: Natural Fabric Covers & Binding, Biodegradable Paper, Gives Back
Intelligent Change has all your writing needs covered with a focus on self-growth. They offer daily notebooks, guided and mindfulness journals, as well as eco-friendly bullet journals. Everything is made from 100% FSC-Certified recycled and biodegradable paper.
They also use plastic-free fabric covers from natural materials like linen and 100% cotton binding. Intelligent Change gives back 1% of their profits to community and environmental organizations.
Sustainable Highlights: Recycled Paper, Plant-based Ink, Locally Made
If you’re looking for eco-friendly notebooks for school, Decomposition is perfect for you. Here you’ll find a variety of college-ruled and lined decomposition books. Each notebook is made from 50-100% post-consumer waste recycled paper and printed with soy ink.
The covers are stunning with something for every taste and each notebook is budget-friendly. You can also choose between spiral binding or sewn binding to suit your preference. Plus, Decomposition offers eco-friendly binders, pencils, and pens to fulfill all your back-to-school needs.
Sustainable Highlights: Family-Run, Plant-Based Ink, Gives Back
Ecojot has a large collection of recycled paper journals and workbooks. Each journal’s cover features artwork created by the founder or in partnership with other female artists. Ecojot also provides the option to customize your cover, so you can design a personalized journal for yourself or a loved one.
Each Ecojot journal is locally made using 100% post-consumer-waste recycled paper and plant-based glue. Additionally, Ecojot donates journals to children in need globally.
Sustainable Highlights: Recycled Cover & Paper, Water-based Ink, Family-run
Eco Collective is a sustainable online platform where you can find wonderful handmade recycled paper journals from Worthwhile Paper. This family-run company produces a small collection of notepads, sketchbooks, and guided journals. They upcycle paper scraps from a local hydropower paper mill to produce their products.
Worthwhile utilizes a zero-waste production process and screenprints each journal using water-based inks. Their notebooks are fully recyclable while their notepads are also compostable.
Sustainable Highlights: Tree-Free Paper, Recyclable
Onyx and Green is a wonderful brand to find sustainable school supplies including eco-friendly journals and notebooks. They use recycled sugar cane or stone to make their recyclable tree-free paper.
Their affordable notebooks are available in different sizes and styles, including composition notebooks and hardcover journals. You can choose between a variety of fun or simple cover designs.
Sustainable Highlights: Tree Free Paper, Certified B Corp, Carbon Offset Delivery
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly alternative to traditional wood-pulp paper, Karst Stone Paper is worth checking out. Karst makes their paper from recycled stone which means the paper is waterproof and tear-resistant. It’s also Cradle to Cradle Silver Certified and fully recyclable.
Karst offers a wide range of hardcover and softcover notepads, notebooks, and journals, as well as planners and sketchbooks.
Sustainable Highlights: Handcrafted, Tree-Free Paper, Organic
Another alternative to tree-based paper is PooPooPaper. Believe it or not, they produce their paper from the fibers in animal poop! Through their fully sustainable production process, they upcycle poop from elephants, donkeys, horses, and cows to produce chemical-free, organic, (and odorless) eco paper journals.
Here you’ll find a large selection of handmade journals with beautifully designed covers that are printed using plant-based inks.
10. Agood Company
Sustainable Highlights: Gives Back, Tree-Free Paper, Cradle to Cradle Certified
At Agood Company you’ll find stone paper notebooks that are waterproof and tearproof. Each notebook is made in a water-free, climate-positive production process. You can choose between biodegradable softcover journals or recyclable vegan leather hardcover journals.
Agood Company offers simple covers or artful designs, all printed using chemical-free soy ink.
Sustainable Highlights: Tree-Free Paper, Gives Back
At Pangaia you’ll find several, brightly colored classic tree-free notebooks. They use bamboo fibers and sugarcane waste to create their tree-free paper. Thanks to the cardboard cover, the notebook is fully recyclable too.
Pangaia works with various environmental organizations to help support reforestation and pollinator preservation, among other causes.
Price: $16- $58
Sustainable Highlights: Artisan Made, Gives Back, Tree-free Paper
Each handmade journal from Loktaa was designed and handbound by artisans in Nepal. These journals are made from Lokta paper which is produced from Daphne bushes in Nepal.
They have hardcover or softcover options available for their plant-based notebooks. Each cover features a beautiful design. Lokta donates 50% of their profits to an organization that helps educate girls in Nepal.
Sustainable Highlights: Zero Waste, Recycled Paper
Meisou sells a small collection of cruelty-free guided journals. Their journals are zero waste, made from recycled paper with recycled organic cotton fabric covers.
Meisou is a woman-owned company that aims to provide sustainable products that help increase mindfulness. Each sustainably-sourced 200 page guided journal focuses on a different intention such as meditation or gratitude.
14. Greenfield Paper
Sustainable Highlights: Recycled Paper, Locally Made, Offsets Carbon Emissions
Greenfield Paper has a variety of journals and sketchbooks, available in different sizes and paper weights. Each journal has half-lined and half-blank pages so you can easily draw or write. Greenfield makes their acid and chlorine-free paper from a blend of hemp and recycled post-consumer waste paper.
You can also find eco-friendly greeting cards and stationery at Greenfield Paper. Everything is made using plant-based, natural dye.
15. By the Sea
Sustainable Highlights: Woman-Owned, Upcycled, Tree-Free Paper
By the Sea Organics is a zero-waste brand that produces handmade, upcycled products including journals. Each journal is made from tree-free paper produced from cotton pulp.
They also use natural fabric scraps and hand block printing to design their beautiful covers. At By the Sea, you’ll find mini journals, sketchbooks, and regular everyday journals to choose from.
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About The Author:
Alicia Briggs is a writer & editor specializing in slow travel & sustainable living. She’s worked in journalism since 2016 and currently writes for a variety of publications such as Sustainably Chic and Hidden Lemur. She has been a full-time traveler since 2018 and runs her own blog, Learning the Local Way, where she covers responsible travel & living tips.