Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Review: Staples Eco Friendly Bagasse Paper

Staples Bagasse Journal - Sugar Cane paper

I'm sorry, but this review has been canceled due to the fact that the oh-so-gloriously fountain pen friendly Staples Bagasse Eco Friendly paper products have changed. First I heard that they had been discontinued, then I heard that the paper quality changed for the worse. (For us fountain pen users.) I have not verified either of these rumors with Staples, but am going on repeated comments from my friends on the Fountain Pen Network.

Not that I'm surprised or anything... Anytime I see an "eco friendly," "green," or "recycled" line of paper products - especially one that's made for a Big Box store and selling for $2.99, I imagine that it's probably been a "one shot" type of production run. They have a source, they make X amount of product overseas, buy it all for one lump sum and they sell it until they run out. Perhaps the success of this product prompted Staples to source more, but since it's not from a controllable resource, (plant waste) there are bound to be differences in the finished product.

While I do appreciate a company that takes measures to protect the environment, it always seems that marking a product as "Green" is a cheap way to pull at a consumer's ethical pocketbook strings. Recycled products usually cost more, not less to manufacture and a $2.99 price tag makes me wonder if they were manufactured under ethical fair trade working conditions. If not, I could care a less if it's 100% recycled and shipped to my house for free with my name engraved in gold on the front - I'm not endorsing it.

I always feel the same way with all of the "Pink" products that show up during breast cancer awareness month. I know that many of those companies legitimately donate a % of their profits to breast cancer research, but I'm also sure that many others don't.

I guess since I took all these pictures, I will move forward with the review - just be forewarned that if you buy the Bagasse products that your results might be very different from what I experienced.

...After hearing many people over on the Fountain Pen Network rant and rave about the fountain pen friendliness of Staples Bagasse products, I had to check them out for myself.

Staples Bagasse Journal

The spiral bound book you see above cost $2.99. It is made in Egypt from 80% sugar cane waste. The covers are super sturdy and the notebook includes a pocket.

Fountain Pen Ink in Staples Bagasse Journal

The thing about fountain pen inks and gel pen inks is that they are water based - and depending on the way the paper is made, it will either absorb or resist ink. Papers that readily absorb these water based inks are prone to feathering and bleed through to the other side of the paper. Paper that resist these inks are highly coveted among fountain pen users.

Fountain Pen Ink in Staples Bagasse Journal

When I tested the Bagasse, I had no feathering or bleeding with a dozen inks & various pens tested. The paper is really thin and smooth to write on - but..... it's a different kind of smooth. Pens seem to write a little thinner than normal.

Fountain Pen Ink in Staples Bagasse Journal

See? No bleedthrough with the exception of the Sharpie which considering the thinness of the paper, actually did pretty well in the bleedthrough department.

Permanent markers in Staples Bagasse notebook

Permanent marker doodle

330pmsun 087

Without a great deal of bleedthrough.

Fountain Pen Ink on Staples Bagasse Pad

I also bought a 2-pack of the small legal pads and found it to have all the same FP friendly characteristics as the spiral notebook.

From Staples Website:

Sugar cane based paper is great for the environment and saves trees

  • Heavyweight kraft covers
  • Two full size heavy duty kraft pockets
  • Perforated white college ruled sheets
  • 9 1/2"x6"
  • Made from 80% sugarcane waste
  • Printed with eco-conscious vegetable-and-water based inks
  • Heavy-duty coil
  • 100 sheets/book


Anonymous said...

Biffy, you didn't say whether you liked the paper or now.

plo said...

not bad, not bad...but like you said...I probably won't be able to actually find this product, and if I do, will it be the same? Hmmmm...

Biffybeans said...

I didn't really like the feel of the paper when writing on it with a fountain pen. If the paper in this product had stayed consistent, it's still unlikely that I would have bought it again.

Dwight J. Dutton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melinda said...

I bought some of this when it first came out and never used it until this fall. I didn't mind how it wrote but the perforated pages would not rip out of the spiral notebook. And I was using it for class notes to go into a binder. It was a mess. I honestly ended up throwing it away because I knew the lack of adequate perforation was a deal breaker.

dsmoen said...

I like the Bagasse for shopping lists and notes that I'm not going to need long after the fact (e.g., writing something down to give to a friend). For things I want to keep, I generally use Rhodia or Clairefontaine.

Anonymous said...

I just bought some and it is fine. Great in fact. The problems they had may have just been temporary.

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