Monday, January 12, 2015

Notebook Review: Decomposition Book

Using products made from recycled materials (when possible) is important to me, so when I was given this Decomposition Book notebook for Christmas, I was excited to try it out.  The Decomposition Book is made in the USA of 100% post-consumer-waste recycled paper and is printed with soy ink.  The name is obviously based on the fact that it's a composition-style notebook made out of recycled paper.
 

Different cover designs are available, and the Decomposition Book is also available in spiral-bound and pocket-sized versions (see them all here).  Most are lined (as is mine), but there does appear to be a few blank and grid options as well.  My Decomposition Book is the "Spirit Animal" design, which features a woodland scene and various animals printed in green ink.  The front cover also has a space for you to write the subject of the notebook.


The covers are simply made of cardboard with rounded corners, making the notebook flexible but relatively sturdy.  The front cover is noticeably curved upward in the middle; I hope that it will flatten out over time, but for now it's rather annoying.  Also, because of how the book is bound, there is an obvious gap in the middle of the pages (if you know of the technical term for this kind of binding, please let me know).


My favourite part of the Decomposition Book is the inside covers, as they are covered with a number of interesting and rather random illustrations, including facts about the Great Sphinx, the planets of the solar system represented as islands, and a map of the Mississippi River, among others.  There's also some information about the benefits of recycled paper and a space for you to write your name and contact information..  Don't be fooled by the apparent rulers on the inside covers; they do seem to match up with centimetres and inches, respectively, but the numbers don't mean anything!  ("The numbers on this ruler have me baffled," reads the artist's message.)


The Decomposition Book contains 160 pages (80 sheets) of college-ruled paper (blank and grid versions are also available).  The paper is ruled with blue lines and red line for the left-hand margin.  No weight is given for the paper but it feels relatively thin and light.  Perhaps unsurprisingly then, the pen test was disappointing, as many of the pens I tested bled through the paper.  The worst offenders were the fountain pens and inks, which bled and feathered like crazy, and generally looked like an inky mess.  This paper is obviously not fountain-pen-friendly, and I'd also suggest steering clear of any liquid ink pens (most of these bled through a bit) and using caution with felt-tip pens (some bled, some didn't).  You should be safe with gel pens and ballpoints.  And pencils, of course.

Front and back of the pen test page.  Click to view larger.

Overall, I love that the Decomposition Book is made of 100% recycled paper and I enjoy its quirky design and illustrations.  I know that many people have issues with recycled paper, so I wasn't expecting it to be amazing, but I was hoping that the paper would have performed better than it did.  I'm not a big fan of composition-style notebooks in general, so I'm not sure what I'll end up using this notebook for, especially since I won't be able to use all of my favourite pens in it.  I probably wouldn't recommend this notebook in most situations, but if you use mainly gel pens, ballpoints, and pencils, and you love composition notebooks and recycled materials, then you may want to consider giving the Decomposition Book a try.

Other review: OfficeSupplyGeek.
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