New year, new planner, am I right? When most people think of going zero waste, they don’t immediately think of planners. Instead, they’ll make sustainable swaps like reusable water bottles, bamboo utensils or cloth napkins. Those are all great, but the truth is, so many items we own produce waste. That includes planners! Most planners are made with plastic and non-recycled paper. And, they end up in the trash come a new year. Suffice it to say, we can do better. If you’re in the market for a new planner, this is a great time to invest in a low waste one. That’s why I’ve rounded up 10 zero waste planners that are killing it in the sustainability department.
FYI, this is a guest post written by Sydney Montagna, a zero waste advocate and aspiring writer. This post contains affiliate links. This means if you choose to purchase one of these items I will make a very small commission at no extra charge to you. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.
10 Zero Waste Planners For Staying Organized
Why switch to a zero waste planner?
Most conventional planners you find in stores have plastic covers, binding and rings. These components of planners aren’t exactly easy to recycle, plus they have a high carbon footprint while being made in polluting factories.
Planners also have paper inside them. While you can recycle the paper, that’s not the main problem – it’s how that paper was sourced that matters most.
It’s estimated that 24 trees are cut down to make 1 ton of standard office paper. Not to mention 80,000 to 160,000 trees are cut down daily worldwide, according to the Global Forest Resource Assessment. A large portion of that goes straight to the paper industry.
Approximately 8 hardwood trees, at around 45 feet tall and 8-inches in diameter, can produce 1,000 to 2000 pounds of paper. Every one ton of recycled paper saves 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, and can save the equivalent of 165 gallons of gasoline.
Sadly, lots of planners go unfinished and get tossed every year. Planners are something you have to buy new annually, so it’s eventually going to just end up becoming obsolete – and don’t think the planner industry doesn’t know that. It’s how they make their profit.
The solution to these problems? When looking for an eco-friendly planner, you should look for these features:
- Ethically made
- Sustainable packaging
- Made from recycled paper
- Recyclable and/or compostable
- Made with salvaged/plastic-free materials
Zero Waste Planners
A planner that’s good for way more than just planning! This open dated, 6 month self care planner is exactly what it sounds like. Not only can you keep track of your important dates and tasks, but it’s filled with inspirational quotes, daily gratitude prompts, self assessments, and monthly self care challenges. If your resolutions this year include being more organized and taking better care of yourself, then you’ve got the whole package right here.
It also allows you to keep track of/plan your meals, water intake, mood, hours of sleep and your exercise routine. The pages are fully recyclable, so you don’t need to worry about tossing it in the trash. However, you may want to keep it so you can look back on your progress years down the line if that’s something you think will keep you inspired. You’ll be able to prioritize your goals and wellness all while staying eco-friendly.
Sustainability: FSC certified paper, linen fabric, handmade, made in USA
This one is my personal favorite. Green Dreamer planners provide dated and undated monthly spreads, as well as weekly reflections, inspirational quotes, and major eco-awareness dates in the calendar.
The fabric cover is naturally made from linen, giving each planner their own raw, personal and textured characteristic. There’s no text foiling on the cover, as that would make it less recyclable, and the ink is completely soy-based. Green Dreamer supports reforestation and 1 tree is planted per planner purchased!
There’s also a digital version you can download if you’d like to just focus on your dates and avoid any paper usage at all.
Sustainability: 100% recycled paper, soy-based ink, handmade covers, linen fabric, supports reforestation, shipped in plastic-free kraft mailers or recycled cardboard boxes
Letter C Design sells fully recyclable kraft paper planners that are handmade by the shop’s owner. You can choose from a variety of different colors or stick with classic brown kraft paper.
There are options for five year planners, three year planners, weekly planners, monthly planners, etc. Customizations are also an option! Let’s say you’re a bit late to the game and forgot to buy your planner in January. There’s an option to customize your planner by start it at any month you wish.
Sustainability: Made from recycled kraft paper and cardstock, handmade
How about a zero waste planner with paper made from stone? Karst created a tree-free, smooth, and waterproof planner that’s 100% recyclable without using an ounce of wood. So unique!
Since the paper is made with calcium carbonate, it’s completely tear-resistant and waterproof. Their stone paper holds a Cradle to Cradle Silver certification and they’re completely recyclable at the end of their life. Plus, since no trees were cut, pulped or transported, thousands of gallons of water are saved. This lowers Karst paper’s carbon footprint by 60%.
Karst planners provide inspirational prompts, monthly themes and hand-selected quotes to motivate you through the year. Rather than just planning out your days, you can also work on setting goals and self-reflection.
Sustainability: 100% recyclable and tree-free, stone paper, waterproof, 60% less carbon footprint, carbon neutral delivery
Can’t get enough of handmade products? Can’t blame you there. This planner by Brazen Prints Art comes with either 6 months or 12 months of double spread pages. It’s completely undated, so you’re free to fill in the dates and months as you see fit.
All pages are made from recycled and color pan paper. Each planner is handmade to your liking and shipped to you with recycled and compostable packaging.
Sustainability: Handmade, recycled paper, compostable packaging
This eco-friendly planner is 100% recyclable cover-to-cover! Wisdom Supply Co emphasizes that they aren’t like conventional planners that use laminates, plastic tabs, spiral binding, or elastic bands. Along with being recyclable, the pages are made from recycled paper as well.
Rather have a PDF version you can use digitally or print out yourself? This is also an affordable, sustainable option.
Sustainability: Fully recyclable, reclaimed paper, made by plastic waste activists
Made with recycled FSC paper, these colorful planners come in a selection of different design patterns such as mushrooms, butterflies and mountains. Each is printed with soy ink and the binding is hand sewn.
Each year as a company, Cognitive Surplus offsets 100% of their calculated carbon emissions, as they take their environmental impact very seriously. They also encourage customers to either keep their planners as a keepsake or recycle them once they’ve reached the end of their life.
Their planner is open dated with 12 dot grid pages to use however you’d like.
Sustainability: 100% recyclable paper, made with soy ink, offsets 100% of carbon emissions, hand sewn binding
“Read me, Plant me, Watch me bloom!”
What’s more reusable than a calendar that you can plant flowers from?! Now even though this is advertised as a calendar rather than a planner, I couldn’t help but include it in this list anyway. Check off each date in your calendar and once the month has passed, plant the corresponding sheet and watch it grow!
It’s made with 100% recycled paper and embedded with native swan river daisies. By the end of January, April, July and October- they’ll grow into blue and purple flowers. February, May, August and November will blossom into white daisies. Finally, in March, June, September and December, you’ll get a mix of purple, white, blue and pink flowers. The paper will compost naturally, leaving only the flowers behind.
This calendar is also made with water-based ink and kraft recycled paper.
Sustainability: Water-based ink, recycled paper, compostable, seeded paper that sprouts into flowers
Rather than use any kind of paper, going digital is always a great zero waste option. Digital Creative Colo created this planner/guide to use during your zero waste journey. It can be printed out or used on apps like GoodNotes, NoteShelf, OneNote, etc.
Aside from dates, it’s also meant to keep track of over 35 different habits/tips. A few examples include: sleep tracker, to-do list, kitchen inventory, bathroom inventory, meal prep scheduler, budget chart, water tracker, recycling guide, etc! That’s only a peek at what this planner/guide can provide.
Sustainability: Digital, offers tips for zero waste journey
This planner is undated and lets you plan up to 6 months using recycled paper and food grade inks. Because it’s undated, this allows you to use it and fill in the dates whenever you want- so you don’t have to feel guilty about skipping a few days. Plus, less paper waste!
Tackle important tasks, highlight accomplishments and practice self-care in this vegan leather-bound planner. It’s shipped in sustainable packaging, as well.
Sustainability: Vegan leather, food grade ink, recycled pages, packaged and shipped in recycled materials
What’s your favorite type of zero waste planner?
If exercising more is a resolution of yours, check out 8 Zero Waste + Sustainable Activewear Brands.
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Guest post: Sydney Montagna is an advocate for animals and plastic-free living. She is studying English and is an aspiring writer. In her spare time, you can find her watching classic TV shows and researching all things Michael Jackson related.