Staples Sustainable Earth Notebook

Photo of Staples Sustainable Earth cover
Front cover

I stopped into Staples the other day to get a Black n’ Red wirebound notebook. They didn’t have any in the size I wanted so I looked for alternatives. The Staples Sustainable Earth 9.5″ X 6′ wirebound notebook caught my eye at less than $5.

The paper is sugar-cane based which is where the sustainable comes from. The paper seemed rather flimsy but I decided to give it a try. The pages are perforated and at 100 sheets I figured I’d find some use for it.

The wirebound notebook has a thick cardboard cover and two pockets inside the notebook. The spiral binding is thick wire so the notebook seemed like it would hold up fairly well being carried in my bag. After I got home I did an internet search and it seems the paper quality varies widely. My notebook was made in Egypt. There’s a whole line of sustainable earth notebooks and I have no idea if the variation is between styles or within the same style, so your mileage may vary.

The paper is thin so there is show through, even with my thin nibs. Since wirebound notebooks are uncomfortable half the time (if bound on the side) I don’t often write on the back so this isn’t a huge issue for me. But when I did write on both sides the show-through didn’t bother me.

There wasn’t any bleed-through to speak of. One small dot did soak through when I repeatedly wrote over the same area. A swab did bleed-through just a little. Thick, wet nibs may not like this paper.

The inks I used behaved surprisingly well with this paper. It’s fountain pen friendly in my opinion. It’s not Rhodia, but it’s not priced at Rhodia levels.

The paper holds up surprisingly well even though it seems so flimsy. I use the notebook at work and flip back and forth through pages all the time and the paper has not torn or come loose from the wire. It wrinkles a bit, but doesn’t tear. The micro-perforations work well.

I’m not sure I buy into the eco-friendly marketing. I bought the pad because of the low price and trees can be replanted. According to the marketing blurb inside the notebook the paper is

… made from 80% sugarcane plant fiber waste. After sugarcane is processed and crushed to make sugar, the waste is converted into paper.

Using more parts of anything to reduce waste is good, so apparently it’s not just because less trees are used.

I find the notebook suitable for my use – work notes and checklists. The price is right at $5 but I’d be sure to check the paper before each purchase. Just like the Black & Red notebook I went to Staples to get.

6 thoughts on “Staples Sustainable Earth Notebook

  1. Good review thanks. I haven’t tried this one yet but I’m certainly in Staples enough. I have moved to Clairefontaine 8×11 spiral notebooks. They are not nearly as rugged or pretty as a travel companion but for at the desk work you get the nice Clairefontaine paper. At $4.50 they are a bargain if you can combine with another order and spread out the shipping.

  2. Hi Bob. Thanks. I had a Clairefontaine top bound spiral at one time but the cover and paper didn’t survive traveling, so like you said, not a travel companion. But the paper is certainly better. Didn’t realize they were so cheap tho’.


  3. Unfortunately the quality of Staples’ Sugarcane based papers varies significantly as well between products as with time. For example, I have the similar notebook and it’s not for wet pens (even with fine nibs): there’s some feathering and significant bleedthrough. While moderately juicy pens, especially with Noodler’s Black, have no problems, I don’t think I’ll buy it again.

    Among Sugarcane papers the best one is (was?) their filler paper and composition notebooks. Visually good papers are distinguished by crisper ruling lines. Same pens that are unusable in the wirebound notebook perform absolutely okay on the filler. Alas, it looks like fillers and composition notebooks are available only in the online store.

    • It’s definitely seems to be a notebook that needs to be seen in person to make sure the paper is OK and I got lucky with my first one. Much like the Black n’ Red notebook I had originally intended to get.


      • By the way, I’ve tried the clothed version of Black n’Red notebooks and all of them (only three specimens, though, but bought at different places) are very good. They are priced in the same category as Sustainable Earth but are much better.

        On the sustainability note, there’s a line of products by Roaring Spring. I’ve tried a couple of their notebooks and they’re decent. When they can be found for cheap, they’re worth attention. The full price, however, is ridiculously high and is close to comparable Rhodia products, which predictably are of much better quality.

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