March 24, 2021
Advertorial origionally published in The Home Worker
It is no surprise that a business dedicated to sustainability and protecting the environment operates on the Schumacher Principle that ‘small is beautiful’. This means Jay Risbridger and his wife, Gill, keep their company’s physical size as small as possible to achieve the lowest ecological footprint.
This ethos permeates their entire business and has done for the past 30 years when they started selling recycled paper. Since then, it has become The Green Stationery company, selling all manner of eco-friendly office and stationery supplies.
But it’s not an easy sell admits Jay when they are “always at a price disadvantage.” Most of their customers are green businesses who want to make a difference. “They’re more concerned about their environmental impact than maximising their profits,” says Jay.
Since Covid-19 entered our lives, he has seen a small shift as people become more aware of the environment and what the future might hold. Their products now include their beautiful bamboo range so you can even buy a mouse, computer keyboard, and calculator from renewable resources rather than plastic.
These chunky, tactile items have their numbers etched into the wood so they won’t rub off. “Wood products tend to last longer and get a nice patina from use,” says Jay. But they aren’t completely against plastic, as long as it’s recycled.” We need to use recycled plastic products otherwise we just have a mountain of plastic products in landfill,” he explains.
He is keen to stress the difference between something being recyclable and recycled. The process of recycling is more than just collecting waste. “It needs to be turned into another product for people to use again,” he says. “People do the collection but don’t buy enough recycled products.”
Buying recycled paper will go towards helping the landfill issue. In the US, paper still accounts for 25% of landfill waste. Most of this can degrade over time but gives off methane in doing so.
The Green Stationery Company are also keen to eliminate toxins from our work environments. “A lot of marker pens have xylene and toluene in them, and there used to be trichloroethylene in correction fluid,” says Jay.
Their glue sicks are made from potato starch and almond, their recycled paper made from such things as elephant dung, reclaimed bank notes, and straw. They also provide biodegradable bubble wrap and packaging materials.
Asa business, they are also keen to promote long-life products, moving away from the fast, disposable culture that is a drain on resources. Their heavy-duty metal staplers come with a lifetime guarantee. “We don’t want things to be used and thrown away,” says Jay.
He says the key is in education. “We need to understand what the issues are if we don’t use renewable resources, about pollutants and plastics, and then people can make choices about the products they use.”