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Read about the Global Footprint Network and learn how to find your personal footprint.
Read about the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, an organization that has transformed the way food is grown, basing its techniques on Alan Chadwick's farming systems started almost forty years ago.
Read about how two creative individuals have found a unique way to make one-of-a-kind notebooks from vintage record sleeves, thrift store buys and reclaimed office paper, each with their own interwoven papergeist.
Find out what technology exists to create a significant amount of paper from alternative fibers.
Read about TerraCycle™ Inc., the world's first company to mass produce a product that actually leaves a negative ecological footprint.
Larry Zirkle of
The average U.S. consumer uses 663 pounds of paper per year! That’s the equivalent of approximately four entire trees per person. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
At Papergeist for example, half printed office paper is turned into brand new notebooks. “We’re like eco-MacGyver,” says Susan Janvrin who runs the small company with Matt Normand. The used office paper comes from several workplace sources and can include anything from engineering drawings, calculations, pool designs, graphic design assignments, middle school worksheets and junk mail. Susan and Matt, the epitome of today’s professional re-users, started making the notebooks in 2006 as Christmas presents for friends. The books were so well received that they started selling them in local Tampa boutiques and set up a website. The notebooks run $22 a pop and are 120 pages each.
Each notebook is a distinctive piece of recycled art made by hand. The covers are made from vintage record sleeves that come mainly from thrift stores, making each book one of a kind. Covers are cropped and hand cut to center the perfect image. The pages are folded, hole punched and bound with a plastic spiral binding. Although each page is folded over to hide the printed side, remnants of the former life of the paper is visible, hence the name “Papergeist.” The website, papergeist.com, works in real time and currently features about 100 unique cover designs. When an order is placed, the selected notebook disappears from the online store.
Papergeist is truly closing the loop on paper production and consumption. After use, every part of the notebook can either be recycled (including the cover) or reused. Even the plastic binding can be removed and sent back to Papergeist for $5 off future notebook purchases. According to Susan’s calculations, Papergeist has saved 24,500 sheets of office paper which adds up to 400 notebooks and three trees. She also plans to plant one oak tree for each tree she and Matt “save” in their Tampa neighborhood.
In addition to running Papergeist, Susan and Matt have a graphic design company called Em En Space. Matt is an assistant professor of graphic design at University of South Florida St. Pete and Susan is an artist and swimming pool designer. For more on their work and notebook collection, visit Papergeist.com.
You can also view INFORM’s The Secret Life of Paper video and learn about other ways to cut down your paper consumption.