I like to be environmentally responsible whenever I can, and when I heard the internet rumour that if every office worker in the UK alone used one less staple per day 120,000kg of steel would be saved every year, I thought – that’s great, I look forward to saving the world one staple at a time.
All the feel-good eco-stores have paperless staplers available which, apart from having dreadful reviews where more than 4 sheets of paper are concerned, are also made in China. I enquired with one of these stores, who were very prompt in responding, but unfortunately were unable to confirm that the people who manufacture these stapleless staplers are paid a fair wage, and allowed to do so under safe conditions.
Unable to identify any Australian or fair-trade alternative, I started to wonder if you could get reusable staples. It wasn’t long before I realised, with some embarrassment, that I have used such a thing before. They call them paper clips.
After a long Google search I was unable to find any Australian made paper clips, and, unless I wanted to pay $19.95 for a set of 3 giant paperclips – which I did not – I was unable to find a suitable fair trade option either.
In one last desperate attempt I decided to visit Officeworks. I should probably have wandered the aisles of a mum-and-dad office supplies shop, but I don’t know of any – and Officeworks is so very close to my work.
I never said I was perfect.
Officeworks provided me with a range of clip styles made in China. This included paper and bulldog clips by Celco, who in spite of marketing itself with a little black Australia, has most of its products manufactured offshore. The single exception appears to be paper binders which Celco actually has manufactured in the country it so proudly displays on its boxes.
Paper binders have a few clear drawbacks as a staple replacement – they are a bit exxy at $15.74 for 200 19mm binders; they are a bit large, with 19mm being the smallest option available; and they are a bit sharp, with a paper piercing point capable of giving you a nasty scratch. They are however reusable, very stable and capable of holding a large quantity of paper together if required.
If this is still too much metal for you, my final recommendation is to try out some different paper-binding folding techniques such as:
Let us know which ones work for you!!