Waste Is a Design Flaw: Eco-Minded Office Essentials from Wisdom Supply Co.

Wisdom Supply Co. Planners Are Trash Gift Band

I have a thing for beautiful paper goods: simply bound notebooks, a well laid-out planner, pocket-sized journals. And, going on year three of working from home, my home office could use a bit of a pick-me-up.

Enter Wisdom Supply Co., a California-based purveyor of well-designed, appealingly simple notebooks, calendars, planners, pencil cases, and writing instruments. Even better, everything is low-waste, “recyclable, repairable, and reusable.” The company began when founder (and plastic waste activist) Heather Itzla noticed how much waste back-to-school shopping produced each year in the way of plastic binders, spiral-bound notebooks that can’t be recycled, and bound-for-the-landfill pencil cases.

And so Itzla and her co-founder, Nicole Kozlowski, an environmentalist and ocean advocate committed to reducing disposable culture, started Wisdom Supply Co., named after the world’s oldest known bird. Their mantra? “Waste is a design flaw.”

All of Wisdom’s low-waste office and school supplies are affordably priced, too. Take a look at a few of the offerings:

Wisdom Supply Co. Zero-Waste Weekly Planners
Above: The Zero-Waste Weekly Planner ($28) was designed in consultation with Kozlowski and Itzla’s local waste haulers, with dye-free covers woven from sustainable materials like straw, hemp, and recycled denim and cotton. Unlike most planners and notebooks, each one is “cover-to-cover recyclable.”
Wisdom Supply Co. Planners Are Trash Gift Band
Above: Optional: a cheeky Weekly Planner Gift Band ($1). According to the product description: “When purchasing a Zero-Waste Weekly Planner for oneself, this is an unnecessary slip of thick cardstock printed with information you already know. It would be silly to purchase it. On the other hand, if you are giving the planner as a gift, it is a useful bit of gift wrap that explains to the recipient what the product and our company are all about.”
Wisdom Supply Co. Zero-Waste Pencil Tin Set
Above: The company’s precise attention to detail yields both eco-conscious and appealing office accessories. For example: The Zero-Waste Pencil Tin Set ($16.25) includes a 100 percent recyclable aluminum case, compostable wool liner (or “husher”) to keep the contents from rattling around, a wax highlighter (in lieu of a plastic one), and a paint-free pencil (paint is plastic, the company explains, and bits of plastic are shed when a painted pencil is sharpened).
Wisdom Supply Co. Zero-Waste Binder Kit
Above: The Zero-Waste Binder Kit ($14.75) is, the company says, the only one of its kind on the market, a replacement for vinyl versions, which never degrade in landfills: “Every vinyl binder ever made still exists in some form,” they say. This binder comes disassembled to emphasize that the cover can be replaced when it’s worn down. “Cardboard binders without replaceable covers are considered ‘mixed materials waste’ and are destined for landfill,” the company adds.
Wisdom Supply Co. No-Waste Notebooks
Above: The founders noticed, while sorting through refuse after yearly locker clean-outs, how many spiral-bound (non-recyclable) and plastic-covered notebooks were being tossed, many of them having barely been used. According to their calculations: “A classroom of 20 students; four comp books/student/year; average # of unused sheets/notebook: 50; 4000 sheets/classroom = 1/3 of a tree = a giant carbon footprint for no good reason.” Enter their No-Waste Notebooks ($5.75), which are 100 percent recyclable and made in Northern California.
Wisdom Supply Co. Unpainted Jumbo Pencils
Above: A set of two Unpainted Jumbo Pencils—plus natural rubber eraser and metal pencil sharpener—is $9.50. Bonus: The pencils are triangular, so they won’t roll off your desk.

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