Bagasse Notebook From Staples12/02/2008
Never heard of bagasse? It’s plant fiber waste that remains after sugarcane is processed. Given how much sugar we consume, there must be tons of it that could be put to good use and turning it into paper is a terrific idea.
Several weeks ago I purchased a 6 x 9.5 “Staples eco-friendly notebook” made from 80% bagasse but didn’t put it to use until this past weekend. Much to my surprise, it had a “made in Egypt” imprint on the back cover. So the paper isn’t the only exotic aspect to this product.
The kraft binder is very sturdy as are the rings so it is excellent for writing on the go. It also has two equally sturdy interior pockets that are attached to both sides of an extra page at the front of the notebook. Since I am always making notes on bits of stray paper, this is a convenience I really appreciate.
The white paper is very thin and shows mild show-through with the eight pens and inks I’ve tested so far but not so much that I couldn’t write on the reverse. Because the paper is so thin there is a degree of indentation on the back even from a fountain pen that would deter me far more than the mild show-through. The texture is very smooth but I did find some mild feathering with a couple of my tests though a Lamy 1.1mm calligraphy nib with Sailor Gray ink produced zero feathering. That combination also produced some fantastic shading so nib width doesn’t seem to matter so much as ink properties.
One other interesting feature of the notebook is the coppery brown lines. That sets it apart from all of my other lined papers and makes it especially pleasant to use.
One caveat to the notebook is that while there is a perforation to remove the paper that attaches a page to the rings, it is not well done. In part the extreme thinness of the paper is to blame but I found it near impossible to get a clean edge. Tearing against a ruler helped but there was more roughness than I would have preferred. This is merely a quibble and not an outright fault. Depending on how you intend to use your notebook, it may be entirely irrelevant. It certainly isn’t a deterrent for me.
Eco-friendly notebooks come in two sizes, 8.5 x 11″ as well as the 6 x 9.5″ reviewed here and cost $3.99 and $2.99 for 100 sheets. So they are quite the bargain. There is a composition book for $2.49 plus wide ruled perforated sheets in a 8.5 x 11″ pad. These come in 50 sheet pads in a 12 pack for $12.99.
The thin paper isn’t for everyone or even for all pens and inks so I can’t call it all purpose. However, for most fountain pen users, this ought to be a useful addition especially where quantity is a consideration. This is a new item for Staples and supplies are limited in some stores. Hopefully, customers will make it a success as not only is it a bargain but an excellent use of a renewable material as well.