Thursday, February 22, 2024

How the Decomposition Notebook Is Writing a New Chapter for Responsible Paper Production


The Decomposition Notebook has become a poster product for responsible paper products and environmental stewardship.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, between 1990 and 2016, global forest area decreased by 1.3 million square kilometers — an area larger than South Africa.

The paper industry is a major contributor to deforestation, accounting for around 28 percent of all harvested wood.

In response to these concerns, a number of companies have emerged that aim to provide sustainable alternatives to traditional paper products. One such company is Decomposition by Michael Roger (Decomposition).

The Michael Roger company has been making paper products since 1949. The idea for the notebook came about after Roger visited a landfill in 2006 and saw the amount of paper waste that was being generated. The Decomposition Notebook was born. It was made from recycled materials that would not contribute to more deforestation; the result was a product that has since become synonymous with sustainability and conscious consumerism. The company now also offers sketchbooks, greeting cards, and more post-consumer stationery items.

The Decomposition Notebook

The Decomposition Notebook is made from 100 percent post-consumer waste recycled paper. It is produced using a chlorine-free manufacturing process and is printed with soy ink. The notebook is available in a range of sizes and styles and features a unique cover design that is inspired by vintage school notebooks.

It’s not just an environmentally friendly notebook, either; the Decomposition Notebook is performance-driven, making it a popular choice for students, artists, and anyone who needs to take notes. The notebook has received high praise for its quality and design. In a review of the product, The New York Times Wirecutter called it “the best notebook for most people.” The review praised the notebook’s durability, its ability to lay flat, and its unique cover design.

decomposition notebooks
Decomposition Notebooks are made from post consumer waste. Courtesy

In addition to promoting sustainable paper production, Decomposition Notebook is also committed to giving back to the community. The company has a partnership with the literacy nonprofit 826 National, and donates a portion of its sales to support the organization’s programs. According to the company’s website, “We believe in supporting organizations that promote literacy and education, and we’re proud to support 826 National’s work.”

But the most compelling reason to choose the Decomposition Notebook continues to be its impact — or, rather, the lack of — on the environment. By using recycled materials, the notebook helps to reduce the demand for virgin wood pulp. According to the Rainforest Alliance, more than 90 percent of the world’s paper production relies on virgin wood pulp. By using recycled materials, the Decomposition Notebook is helping to reduce the pressure on forests and to promote a more sustainable approach to paper production.

Virgin paper production

The paper industry’s contribution to deforestation is not its only environmentally destructive component. In a report from the Rainforest Alliance, the organization notes that “the pulp and paper industry is one of the largest users of water and energy and the biggest industrial user of chlorine.” The report also notes that the industry is responsible for significant levels of air and water pollution.

Despite these concerns, the paper industry remains a major global industry. According to a report by Statista, the global paper and pulp market was valued at $606 billion in 2020, with the Asia-Pacific region being the largest market. It notes that the demand for paper is expected to continue to grow, with the industry projected to reach a value of $725 billion by 2026.

a forest
Forests are critical for the health of the planet | Courtesy Steven Kamenar via Unsplash

However, there are signs that the industry is starting to change. A number of companies, like Decomposition Notebook, are now offering sustainable alternatives to traditional paper products — including toilet paper. In addition, some of the largest paper companies in the world, including International Paper and Kimberly-Clark, have made commitments to sustainable sourcing and reducing their environmental impact.

According to a report by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international organization that promotes responsible forest management, the area of FSC-certified forest increased by 14.4 million hectares in 2019. The report notes that this growth is due to “increased demand for responsibly sourced forest products,” as well as “growing consumer awareness and demand for sustainable products.”

Experts in the field of forestry and environmental conservation say initiatives like Decomposition Notebook are crucial in the fight against deforestation and climate change. According to Dr. Jeffrey Hepinstall-Cymerman, an Associate Professor at the University of Alabama, products like the Decomposition Notebook offer a sustainable alternative “that helps to reduce the pressure on forests and promote responsible forest management.”

Dr. Hepinstall-Cymerman also notes that sustainable paper production can have positive social and economic impacts as well. “Responsible forest management can create jobs and provide economic benefits for local communities, while also promoting biodiversity and protecting important ecosystems,” he says.

a forest
Healthy forests are crucial to mitigating climate change. Courtesy Marita Kavelashvili | Unsplash

Other experts point out that sustainable paper production can also help to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

“Forests are crucial in the fight against climate change, as they absorb and store large amounts of carbon dioxide,” says Dr. Richard Houghton, a Senior Scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center. “By promoting sustainable forest management and reducing the demand for virgin wood pulp, products like the Decomposition Notebook can help to protect these valuable ecosystems and mitigate the impacts of climate change.”

The success of companies like Decomposition Notebook demonstrates that sustainable paper production is not only possible but also commercially viable. As more consumers become aware of the impact of paper production on the environment, the demand for sustainable paper products will continue to grow. This could have a significant impact on the paper industry, encouraging more companies to adopt sustainable practices and reduce their environmental impact.

Decomposition’s success speaks to changing consumer habits, especially when presented with a sustainable option. Decomposition’s products are now sold in more than 2,500 stores across the U.S. In an interview with Forbes, Michael Rogers said that the more people who buy recycled and eco-friendly products, the more demand there will be for them, “and the more companies will follow suit.”

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