Stationery Trends Magazine – Fall 2008

Here is my second article for “The Green Room”, which can be seen in the fall issue of Stationery Trends Magazine. I enjoy writing about the environment, an important issue. Even though Stationery Trends is a trade and not an environmental magazine, they are incorporating sustainable content into each issue, and that’s Verysupercool in my book!

I haven’t seen the movie “Curious George”, but while researching for this article I fell in love with Jack Johnson’s music! I can see why he is such a favorite with young kids, with his great song,”The 3 R’s” .

Read entire article below:

The Green Room
The Three R’s
– Recycled products are a smart choice,
Just ask Plato – or Curious George

By Sue Rostvold

Although most of us didn’t grow up recycling, it’s really nothing new. History indicates that recycling dates back to at least 400 B.C., and no less a personage than Plato was doing it. These days our children are often leading the way, singing along with Curious George (aka Jack Johnson, who did the score for the 2006 film): “Gotta reduce, reuse, recycle!”

Wholesalers and retailers across the U.S. are responding to consumer demand for more sustainable goods. Offering recycled products is an easy, eco-friendly way to assure that customers leave your venue feeling positive about their purchases and your store.

Most businesspeople are convinced that responsible sourcing is the way to go, but what does that mean to a stationery/gift retailer that’s new to the movement? If you sing along with Curious George, you’ll respond to both your customers’ desires and the earth’s needs by remembering the three R’s:

• REDUCE. Reducing consumption is the first step. One easy way to do this is to stock products with minimal packaging. This is much easier to do now, since Wal-Mart forced the packaging industry to simplify their product wrappings. When you buy pre-packaged products, look for ones that are simply packaged, and tell your buyers and distributors to look out for new finds. Buying and selling in bulk is another way to minimize packaging. You can even creatively re-package bulk items with scrap paper, ribbon and twine.
• REUSE. Reused, re-purposed and re-adapted are some of the words today’s hip artisans use to describe what was known in the 1990s as “found object art.” Materials such as beach glass, steel, wire, newspaper, aluminum and barn wood are recycled into rustic, eclectic or modern stylized creations. Often these items are made in developing areas of the world and carry the additional benefit of being fairly traded.
• RECYCLE. As the saying goes, “If you’re not buying recycled, you’re not really recycling.” When you buy something made with recycled materials, you ensure that discarded materials are reused instead of ending up in a landfill. Even though almost all paper is recyclable, statistics reveal that approximately 35 percent our landfills are comprised of paper and paperboard! That’s because Americans threw away about 85 million tons of paper products in 2006, nearly a three-fold increase from 1960.* So it’s more important than ever to buy recycled paper products, and remind customers why this matters.

Stocking just one recycled item is better than none. Your customers want items derived from responsible, creative practices. When retailers support companies that are committed to the environment, they also strengthen their own business ethics and reputation. In the end, whether you are a retailer or end consumer, purchasing quality items from companies that are environmentally conscious just feels like the right thing to do. This makes our collective buying power is more important and meaningful than ever before in history.

*2006 statistics from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Sue Rostvold lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband Allan, and her swimming dachshund Martin. Her company, Verysupercool, features dog-themed, inspirational greeting cards printed on 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper — making them a completely recycled product! For more information, or to watch a music video of the Jack Johnson recycling song mentioned in this article, visit

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1,820 Responses to Stationery Trends Magazine – Fall 2008

  1. lisa knaggs November 4, 2008 at 8:47 am #

    Glad you’re helping to educate the paper world! I’ve always been amazed at how few greeting cards are made from 100% post consumer waste (that’s how Verysupercool first caught my eye!) woof!woof! :)

  2. Verysupercool Sue November 4, 2008 at 9:43 am #

    Thanks Lisa! It’s all about baby steps. We are all learning together.

  3. Allan November 4, 2008 at 9:44 am #

    Nice article Sue! It’s short, sweet and simple. Congrats on being a columnist!

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