Saturday, February 26, 2011

Download your mind: eco-friendly paper planners that reconcile aesthetics and sustainability

Yesterday, a frazzled friend came into my office, which is not really an office but a conference room in an office building that I sneak into.

“My brain can’t fit anything else! 8x10 papers are scattered all over my office!” he cried. He actually does have an office, so I imagined this to be a problem.

I told him to buy a planner, and showed him mine. I don’t know what I’d do without it. I’ve been using a variety of year-long paper planners for the last 15 years, although I have a Macbook, iPad, iPhone and, practically, an iChip embedded in my brain (I was once nearly kicked out of a Nokia store when my iChip decided to make a theatrical, impromptu sales pitch to my new-phone-buying friend...). But when it comes to planning—can’t use ‘em. I need paper.

Last July, I even bought an 18-month planner, because my friend Debbie wanted me to be her bridesmaid in 18 months, which is a ridiculous time commitment to expect someone to remember. But she knew me when I was four when I didn't have any friends, so I did it for her. I’m unsure of what country I’ll be living in at that time, but I know I’ll be posing for pictures in a maroon dress in New Jersey on July 16. And she has my Moleskine to thank.

I’ve always needed a paper planner. I need something tactile, something I can doodle in, a canvas for creativity amidst structure and lines. I love to smell the paper, feel the weight of ink on them, feel how tangibly heavier the past is than the future. With a paper planner, it’s all embodied, with an open and close and a whole life inside.

People go nuts over their planners. They write long blog posts about choosing a planner based on what could be labeled as complicated algorithms, complete with pro/con lists, numerical scoring and charts. Another lady writes romantically about the luscious feel and sound of paper and the interactive nature of flipping pages versus scrolling over a digital screen.

For myself and many others, paper planners are the way to go. But is it sustainable? How can I reconcile my love of paper and be eco-friendly?

I’ve done some research so you can rest easy (and subsequently mark and check off that you rested easy). These two are great to grab when you want to be conscious of both the environment and your next yoga/therapy/work meeting:

  • EcoSystem planners each have their own unique ID number, which can be used to track the book's origins, learn about its environmentally-friendly roots, and find out exactly how to recycle each planner. They utilize New Leaf Imagination, a production effort that creates materials made with 100% post-consumer waste. They’re also pretty and colorful; “green doesn’t have to be brown” is their motto.
  • The Quo Vadis Equology planner is made with chlorine-free, FSC-recycled, alkaline/neutral paper (quite a mouthful). And apparently they “invented” the concept of Weekly Time Management. In 1954, the founder of the company, a French doctor named F.G. Beltrami, sketched a grid on a notebook, and voila, planning would never be the same.

As for my friend? He decided to go with iCal. At least my iChip is still firing.

Note: The original version of this article was written for the local Boulder-based eco-company, English Retreads. It can be found here. You should consider buying a purse from them, as they are astoundingly awesome.

No comments:

Post a Comment