Are Moleskine Notebooks Sustainable?

Moleskine notebooks have a rich history, loved by many artists and intellectuals over the past two centuries, including the likes of Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and Bruce Chatwin.

Their legacy and the appeal of being part of such an impressive tradition make them highly desired. However, as our world grows more eco-conscious, the focus isn’t just on their aesthetic appeal or historical significance. Many are questioning their environmental footprint.

While Moleskine notebooks undeniably carry a reputation for quality and luxury, it’s important to ask: Are they also sustainable?

What material are Moleskine notebooks made of?

Moleskine notebooks are celebrated for their sleek and durable covers. While they might remind one of leather, they aren’t made from actual leather.

According to the Moleskine website, the hardcovers are crafted from polypropylene, and the soft covers utilize polyurethane. Some versions also have cardboard covers, with special editions sometimes using fabrics.

These synthetic materials, while not directly harming animals, bring into focus the environmental implications of their production and disposal.

The pages inside Moleskine notebooks are acid-free, ensuring longevity, and the company uses FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper.

While this indicates a commitment to responsible forestry, it’s important to note that the brand hasn’t specified the proportion of its products that use post-consumer (recycled) paper. For many green-conscious consumers, the ideal is a notebook made of 100% recycled paper.

Are Moleskine notebooks ethical?

Ethics is a multi-faceted consideration.

While Moleskine notebooks avoid genuine leather, making them technically vegan, it doesn’t end the debate.

Moleskine’s commitment includes ensuring that their suppliers follow a Code of Conduct grounded in the International Labour Organization’s principles.

However, the brand’s transparency falls short in certain aspects.

They offer limited information about the sourcing of some of their products, such as those containing leather.

Moreover, there’s an absence of comprehensive details about their manufacturing facilities and the people working there.

Moleskine and its associates are members of Sedex, and a commendable 96% of their suppliers boast ISO14001 certification.

These certifications indicate a commitment to ethical labor practices. Yet, to make an informed judgment, consumers need more transparency from the company, particularly about sourcing and production processes.

Is Moleskine a sustainable brand?

Moleskine, over the years, has indeed made strides towards sustainability.

They emphasize the recycling of their products post-use, although the non-recyclable covers need removal.

An exciting innovation from the company is their collaboration with INSQIN® technology. This partnership allows for the creation of partly bio-based polyurethane coatings for notebook covers, reducing the carbon footprint and inching closer to a circular economy model. These coatings merge the signature Moleskine quality with enhanced sustainability.

However, while Moleskine is taking steps forward, there’s still room for more improvement and transparency.

For those looking for alternatives, many brands use biodegradable vegan leather, like cork, or prioritize 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper in their products.

Can you recycle and upcycle Moleskine notebooks?

Recycling Moleskine notebooks can be a bit tricky due to the combination of synthetic cover material and paper.

Ideally, one should separate the cover from the pages to recycle the paper portion. The synthetic cover, however, may not be recyclable in standard recycling systems.

Beyond simply recycling, there’s a world of imaginative possibilities for breathing new life into your old Moleskine notebooks.

Turn them into art journals, letting every page be a canvas for your creativity, or repurpose them into intricately detailed scrapbooks capturing memories.

Transform them into unique photo albums, adding captions and mementos beside your pictures.

For notebooks that have minimal wear and tear, think about donating them. Local schools, community centers, or even art workshops could benefit from such contributions, where they can be used for educational activities, community projects, or given to budding writers and artists.

Moreover, consider hosting DIY craft sessions with friends or community members, teaching them ways to upcycle old notebooks and collectively embrace sustainability.

What is the eco-friendly alternative to Moleskine notebooks?

While Moleskine has been a dominant force in the world of notebooks, several eco-conscious brands have come to the forefront, offering environmentally friendly alternatives.

Here are some notable options:

Decomposition Book:

  • Made from 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper.
  • Features soy ink printing, which is less harmful to the environment than petroleum-based inks.
  • Their designs are often quirky and fun, adding a touch of personality to sustainability.


  • Produces notebooks with covers made from cork, a sustainable and renewable material.
  • Cork harvesting is a process that doesn’t harm the tree, making it an eco-friendly alternative to traditional leather.
  • Additionally, cork forests are crucial for the survival of certain endangered species.


  • Their products use 100% post-consumer recycled paper.
  • For every journal sold, Ecojot donates a notebook to a child in need.
  • Uses vegetable-based inks and glues.

Stone Paper Notebooks:

  • Made from stone paper, which consists of up to 80% limestone and 20% additive.
  • This type of paper consumes less water in its production compared to traditional paper.
  • Stone paper is tear-resistant and bio-degrades over time under constant sunlight.
  • It’s an intriguing option for those looking for something different from the typical paper notebook.

A Good Company:

  • Known for its sustainable practices and high-quality products.
  • Their notebooks are made from stone paper, similar to the previously mentioned Stone Paper Notebooks.
  • The production of stone paper uses minimal water, no trees, and is powered by solar energy, making it an excellent sustainable choice.
  • A Good Company practices carbon offsetting and emphasizes transparency in their production chain.
  • Their packaging is plastic-free and made from recycled materials.

In the crossroads of tradition and innovation, Moleskine notebooks have a special place, carrying a legacy of artists and thinkers who once cherished them. But in a rapidly changing world where sustainability is a priority, it’s vital for both brands and consumers to consider the environmental and ethical impact of their choices.

While Moleskine has made good progress towards sustainability, there’s still more work to be done. As consumers, our role is to stay informed, ask for transparency, and make choices that reflect our values.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *