You just ordered custom 3-ring binders and you are ready to do your marketing – so why are they falling apart when you use them?
Traditionally, 3-ring binders are made sort of like books.
This is where the book comparison ends. In a poorly made 3-ring binder front board, back board and spine board are held together by either a small piece of vinyl, paper or cloth. Other options we are going to discuss involve using one piece of board and wither routing a spine into the board or flexing the spine directly into the whole board.
Vinyl Binders. The Weakest Hinge.
The reason vinyl binders break is simple. Even in the heavy duty vinyl binders (shown here) the hinge, the part of the binder that gets the most stress, is a very small thin piece of vinyl.
With perfect weather conditions, this is a recipe for disaster; when it is cold, left it in the sun or left in fluorescent light vinyl gets brittle. Since most of you are not using your binders in a cave, that means the hinge of the cover is going to fail.
If you get the regular vinyl binders it is good to know that to save money, that vinyl has been getting thinner and thinner for a long time, and so weaker and weaker.
Any binder made this way is going to have problems. Whether the hinge is made of paper, vinyl or some sort of spine tape these will fall apart at the seams.
Routed 3-ring binders. A bit better.
A slightly better construction uses a single board construction, taking your board and routing out half or more of the board so that the hinge flexes more easily.
While stronger than a vinyl hinge, you are still counting on 1/16th of an inch of recycled paper to hold your cover on. This hinge is still going to fail, but is not so dependent on the weather.
Flexed Single Board Construction. The Strongest 3-ring Binder.
The best and strongest 3-ring binder is made from one piece of board and the hinge is flexed directly into the board – nothing is shaved off or cut, so there are no weaker parts of the binder.
Corporate Image and Naked Binder only construct our 3-ring binders this way to insure sustainability – a binder that breaks before its useful life is over is a waste of resources, money and the time it takes to get another.
We have lab tested our bare board binder to 250,000 flexes without failure. That is 20 uses a day for 34 years. Not bad.
A well made 3 ring binder will not fall apart at the hinges. When you are specing 3-ring binders for your marketing or in-house use keep in mind how they are made. A well made 3-ring binder can save you money since you don’t have to replace them as often and, really, how does it reflect on your company if your marketing materials are held together by duct tape?
Fascinating 3 ring binder information
You can use this information to rule the world of presentation material Trivial Pursuit and destroy at office supply Cranium!
When was the 3 ring binder invented?
That depends on where you are and who you ask.
Loose-leaf paper was patented in 1854. Also in 1854, patents were filed for both the 2-ring and 3-ring binders by Henry T. Sisson of Providence, Rhode Island. Sisson recognized the need to be able to protect pages, although he was not yet exactly sure how to fix the problem. No loose-leaf binders were available on the market at that time.
Fast forward a few years and go to Germany where Friedrich Soennecken is said to have invented ring binders in 1886 in Bonn, Germany. He also registered a patent on November 14, 1886, for his Papierlocher für Sammelmappen (“paper hole maker for folders”, or hole punch).
In the US, the Chicago Binder and File Company was one of the 1st companies to offer a binder for sale in 1899.
How are binders made and has that changed much? Yes and no…
Originally, 3 ring binders were made like hardcover books – three pieces of board (binders board – a heavy paperboard) held together with book cloth covers and end sheets. As plastics got invented, vinyl binders appeared – again three pieces of board but with two sheets of thin vinyl heat sealed at the edges and hinges. Not as strong, but easier to make.
Of course, people realized vinyl is toxic.
So now, with US binder manufacturers like Corporate Image, who are concerned with the long life of the binder as well as the health of the person using it, the best 3 ring binders are made from one sheet of binders board, cased and lined with printed sheets ( or in Naked Binder‘s case recycled papers or bare board) with a hinge pressed directly into the board. No weak spots and no vinyls, these 3 ring binders are 100% recyclable and non-toxic. It is also the strongest 3 ring binder hinge and allows for round spine binders.
How many 3-ring binders are made every year?
We have wondered the same thing, but there is no good count. In the US, our best guess is that between 40 and 60 million 3 ring binders are sold every year – mostly cheap, vinyl, disposable imported ones. That is a lot of landfill.
For fascinating binder information and history to come!
Recycling a 3-ring binder is easy – ( assuming you don’t have a vinyl binder )
If you have a paper based binder – not plastic or vinyl, you are already working with a much more eco friendly binder. The core of ever Corporate Image and Naked Binder is 100% post consumer waste binders board. Every binder is recycled and recyclable.
This Naked Binder video shows you how you can have your eco friendly 3-ring binder ready to recycle in seconds.
Tools You Need:
Flat head (standard) Screwdriver.
Recycling a Vinyl Binder is harder. There is no option to just recycle a vinyl binder the way you can a paper one. They fall apart faster and yet are basically landfill – somewhat toxic landfill. Naked Binder tried to find a way to recycle vinyl binders. If you like you can read about our quest here.
First, pop out the ring, just as you saw above.
Next take a knife and cut open the vinyl about a half inch from the edge of each panel and on the spine. You will probably need to split the vinyl on at least two sides of each panel to remove the chipboard panels inside.
Now that you have the components, the board can go in the paper recycling, the metal in the metal recycling and the vinyl? Now there is a good question. time to get on the phone to find out if your city/county/state has vinyl recycling capabilities. You will find they don’t. While the industry says it recyclable “there are currently no vinyl recycling programs available.” (from thread post).
If you have 6 binders, this is a pain, takes about 30 minutes, and a bit of garbage that will go to landfill. If you are a corporation with 10,000 binders, this is more serious. Besides the time to separate each component, Landfills consider vinyl a toxic asset in large quantities. The 3,000 pounds of vinyl you have will need to be shipped to a special landfill or stored indefinitely.
In these cases, the per binder cost sky rockets. Including labor, storage and shipping (along with short life and toxicity) into the binder price may convince you that the initial cost savings were not worth it.
The moral of this tale is to use paper based 3-ring binders. They are stronger, look better and 100% recyclable!
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