A few years ago I was walking through the Victoria and Albert Museum and as I always do (being the shopaholic that I am), I like to visit their shop for for any curious and interesting objects, be it jewelry, prints, stationery, clothing, books or homewares. There is always an interesting selection of things each time I visit!
On this occasion I found the Eco Staple Free Stapler. Have you ever thought about the stapler being environmentally unfriendly? It hasn’t crossed my mind before. It’s always been there to help bind pieces of paper together using small metal bits. I’ve never thought about a staple-free option where you don’t need to buy any refills when you run out of staples. This was a fantastic idea.
So it has been around for yonks but whenever I mention it to people, they always give me a confused look with the same question “A stapler? Without staples?”
I’m surprised it is not more well known. It works by cutting a strip of paper and looping this through the hole it has made for the strip, to secure the paper together. Quite clever actually.
There are obvious advantages such as never having to buy staple refills again and this also makes it beneficial for the environment. The pages can be easily undone just by removing the loop of paper and flattening it out, rather than having to use a pair of scissors and poke your eye out, buy a staple remover, or worse still, break a nail.
For the paper shredder, You will never have to worry again about removing staples before putting anything into into it, unless you have one of those shredders that will shred through credit cards (perhaps I need one of these to cure my shopping addictions)!
And you can avoid your colleagues’ two-pronged attacks of wayward staples flying toward you! Shame… staple shootouts are lots of fun!
It is also child safe. No refills means the design does not need to allow for you to open the stapler up, preventing little fingers getting stapled. There is also no chance of swallowing staples. No staples also means no injuries from accidentally stepping on a staple (this has happened too many times during my childhood – try not to visualise pulling a whole staple out from your foot!)
There are also some obvious disadvantages.
The strength of the conventional stapler relies mainly on the metal staple which is much stronger than relying on the strength of the strip of folded paper to hold other pages together. And although it is able to easily secure up to 4 pages together (as it suggests) – and to be fair most of the stapling that I do only involves about 4 to 5 pages – anything between 4 and 15 pages is where the conventional stapler comes into its own. 15 pages or more and staples are no longer a good option anyway. So although I think for most occasions of paper bondage it would suffice, you may still need to keep your old stapler around for those rare occasions.
The shape of this Eco stapler is somewhat bulky. It is round and looks nothing like a stapler. It would not fit well in pencil cases. The feeling of holding it in your hand is comfortable but it feels light in your hand which can make it seem flimsy. You also have to “staple” pieces of paper on a table or other surface as it’s a bit uncomfortable to hold in your hand while stapling due to the “open” design underneath.
If you have stapled something by mistake, and you need to undo the stapling, that’s quite easy to do but it will leave a strip of paper hanging out whereas the metal staple will only leave two little puncture holes (but you might also need to buy a stapler remover if you don’t have any nails or if you don’t want a broken nail).
Also if you need to staple it back up again, you will possibly need to choose a different spot to avoid creating a tear unless you can staple it in exactly the same position as before, which would be very tricky.
As the Eco stapler doesn’t open up as such, you can only push the paper in so far. So you will be limited in terms of the distance that you can staple from the edge of the paper. This also means that you cannot staple anything to a cork board.
As the Eco stapler relies on folding paper through a hole cardboard, photo paper, thicker paper or any other material such as plastic or fabric, would not be able to be cut and looped around and held in place by the slit of paper. It doesn’t work for tissues either. But normal office paper, newspaper, glossy magazine paper and tissue paper worked fine, though for tissues it did not.
I recently found another type of staple-less stapler made by Japanese company Kokuyo. The Harinacs stapler cuts a strip of paper in an arrowhead shape and loops this through the slit of paper. It seemed to possibly be a little stronger than my old stapler so I decided to give it a go.
It can hold a few more pages together. It recommends up to 6 pages. I tried to staple up to 11 pages and that seemed to work fine but the loop of paper was getting stuck inside (once it was stapled together because of the all the folded paper) so I couldn’t pull it out of the stapler very well especially because I couldn’t open it up. Though after pulling the paper out, all the pages were still holding together. Beyond this many pages, the loop action was failing due to to the pages not folding and fitting through the slit.
This one is shaped more like a stapler but this also means that it cuts the paper in a vertical fashion so the loop is going in the same direction as the stapler. It means that you need to push the paper all the way in to ensure that you cut a loop of paper rather than just get the edge of the paper and cut out an arrow-shaped hole instead!
It has a heavier, sturdier feel compared to the Eco stapler. It is also completely enclosed so you can hold the stapler in your hand rather than stapling on top of a surface.
Other than those positives, the other disadvantages are similar.
Kokuyo have also released a paper binding device called the Harinacs Press. This one can supposedly press up to 5 sheets of paper together. I got up to 7 pages but it was a struggle trying to get the paper in as, again, it doesn’t open up and the gap is very small.
The binder also has even more limited stapling distance from the edge of the paper. I’m not sure exactly why because it seems there is no reason for why the binding mechanism cannot be positioned further into the binder itself. You can position it over a corner of paper by following the guide lines on the binder and get the paper bound a little further in from the edge but it still feels limited.
The binder leaves a row of tiny holes in the paper. The pages can easily be pulled apart and you can bind the pages in the same place as before without worrying too much about cutting holes.
The paper types for the press include office paper, newspaper, glossy magazine paper, tissue paper and also tissues.
Overall I’m really happy that there is an alternative to staples for the majority of the things I would use a conventional stapler for. I’ve been using it at work for a while now and it’s been great, however in an ideal world we shouldn’t be using so much paper!
I do not sell this product on my website and the link below is only a click-through to a supplier on Amazon but if you would like to get your hands on one, then click on the image.