What’s an easy, eco-friendly way to bind a printed A4 booklet?
February 20, 2018 12:41 AM   Subscribe

I’m looking for an innovative, easy and eco-friendly way to bind A4 printed booklets. (I print these booklets — both sides, landscape, rarely more than 4 A4 pages thick — nightly for the articles I’ve Instapaper’d throughout the day, since I don’t like reading on-screen.)

Staples feel too wasteful; hole punching and plastic binding rings is a hassle; ‘staple-free’ staplers don’t work for the landscape booklet format.

Is there anything else you guys have seen that might be worth trying? Thanks!
posted by scrm to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I don’t know if it counts as innovative, but I think I’d just slide a piece of poster hanger over the long edge, (without the string!) It’s plastic, but reusable.
posted by penguin pie at 12:51 AM on February 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

Binder clips! With the wires pinched out as in the last picture here. Wikipedia

Or there are fancy small paperclips like these: slide clips

Or yes, an A5 slide binder as suggested by penguin pie, probably the nicest in the hand.
posted by lokta at 1:43 AM on February 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

If I didn't have a slide binder and the spine wasn't holding with one or two clips I'd add a folded scrap card/paper spine between the papers and the clip(s). This too if I wanted the papers as unmarked as possible.
posted by lokta at 1:47 AM on February 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

If it's any help, staples really aren't all that wasteful or damaging to the environment. Iron is one of the commonest metals on earth and two staples require (by my napkin calculation) about 1/200 of the energy to manufacture as a single sheet of A4 paper. A tiny piece of steel wire, which is what a staple is, will break down in soil harmlessly over time, without poisoning anything. I'm hard-pressed to think of a more energy-and-resources-efficient, environmentally friendly way to bind paper.

The cost in resources and energy to manufacture something like a poster hanger or binder clips, or any sort of paperless stapling tool, is going to be much heavier on the environment than all the staples you're likely to use over most timescales. With something like this, the tool you already have (a stapler) is a sunk cost, environmentally, whereas anything you buy, particularly anything using plastics, is adding to the sum total of environmental damage.

I hope it doesn't seem harsh, but all that borderline-unnecessary printing (because you don't like reading on-screen) has an environmental impact that totally swamps any benefit of not using a few staples, even with recycled paper, and even if you compost the paper afterwards. Maybe you would do better to find a way to adjust your screen so that it's more acceptable to your eyes, or just live with the fact that reading from a screen is 'doing your bit' for the earth.
posted by pipeski at 2:36 AM on February 20, 2018 [18 favorites]

They're overkill for four pages, but I'm a great fan of nalclips, aka clam clips/supaclips/gachucks.
posted by zamboni at 5:58 AM on February 20, 2018

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