It was nice to see the company caring so much about the climate and so despite their lack of evidence for using recycled plastic and fair labour I think I am still going to give them 2/3 overall just because they’re trying so hard to make useful climate change mitigating products. Unlike my last review this is clearly a very small company, they sell mainly on Facebook, their website and amazon (where I found them) and they had a Kickstarter project from last year for a similar project. So, I think for a firm of this size I am quite pleased with their sustainability efforts as they are definitely trying quite hard compared to other companies including thinking through the source of the problem, as the only other thought through solution is to purchase a tablet to make such notes on, which in many cases could actually be worse due to the amount of e waste and lack of recycled materials and child labour involved in mining. Whereas this just requires a camera to take photos of notes you want to keep which I’m sure everyone buying over the internet will already have.
I bought the note book over a year ago and their product information online is slightly different now to what it was then, the details of what it is made of is scarce but it states on their website that the cover is plastic, it feels hard enough to be recycled but says nothing about if it comes from recycled plastic so I am going to assume not. The main point of this product however is what it is not made of, fresh paper from wood. Indeed online the company states
OUR MISSION STATEMENT & CORE VALUES:
“MAKE THE WORLD PAPERLESS!” is our mission statement because saving trees and being active in caring for the environment is important to us. This is not just a statement, it is a way of life to us. We are truly committed to developing environmentally friendly products and solutions."
It then goes on to explain what deforestation is and why it is so bad for the environment, and kudos to them it does cover all the bases here, and based off their other products they do seem to have built their entire brand off of reducing paper waste with all their other products being based around it. Simple calculations show using their 25 page notebook 500 times instead of paper will indeed save about one tree from being cut down or about 750kg of carbon footprint across its lifecycle.
On the other hand it does not however talk about plastic at all or the environmental impacts of using plastic compared to paper. It does not state anywhere that the notebook insides (which are presumably made of a polymer) are recyclable. So assuming they’re not, the product weight on amazon is listed as 318g, assuming they’re 100% plastic and that they are made out of a sort of polyethylene which is 6kg co2 for every 1kg of plastic, the impact of just the notebook is 1.92kg of co2, a far cry from the 750kg used by paper. This however is a VERY basic and flawed calculation as it doesn’t account for the particular type of plastic, the gas leaks or flaring caused by drilling for the oil, the shipping which as it comes from amazon I’m sure will have been around the world several times for no reason and also the income and profit the oil companies made by selling this plastic allowing them to continue their other less profitable operations such as drilling and burning…
However even once taking these into account I think there will still overall be a carbon saving, especially with the promise that they will plant two trees for every notebook bought (even if there is no validation for this). The other concern aside from carbon with using plastic is micro plastics that will form for the 500 years before the plastic breaks down assuming it leaves the conveyor belt.
Overall I am going to give a 2/3 planets because if the notebook is recycled after it is used and is used for more than the 500 times advertised (I think I was promised 10,000 upon purchase)then it could be better for the environment than either an extra tablet to make lists on or that much paper. The product idea in itself is sound and if the company can prove that they have used recycled plastic then this would solidify this rating.
I emailed the company:
I bought one of your notebooks last year and I was very impressed with the product
I decided to review it as part of my sustainability review course (VOIZ) at school and I had some questions about the product that I couldn't find on your website...
Is the plastic you made the notebooks out of coming from recycled sources?
Who makes your product, are they your direct employees or with a 3rd party company? do they have sufficient pay and health/safety in their workplace?
So far I have been really impressed with your product and would love to give it 3/3 but I cant until at least tried to find an answer for these questions :-)
keep up the good work
Thanks for reaching us.
Yes, our product aims to keep our environment sustainable, we used recycled materials and we have a factory working with us, they're well paid and safe.
I am going to take this to mean that they use recycled plastic in their products which is really good to know and definitely solidifies their 2/3 planet rating even though they have provided no proof
‘they’re well paid and safe’ - again nice words but no evidence. They definitely said nothing about it on their website, (which I think will dock a point for but only one) and I am going to trust them on this but still a little suspicious as it sounds like a 3rd party supplier which means maybe they maybe have no idea themselves. So if they supplied evidence it would be a 2/3 but there is none just nice words and very vague at that.