Pens are necessary tools for our daily lives but is there a more eco friendly option? While pens might seem insignificant when it comes to the larger pollution problem, every household has at least a handful of pens at home for writing down notes, signing greeting cards, etc. That’s millions of pens being used and discarded each year!
Traditional pens made from plastic and other non-biodegradable materials contribute to the world’s plastic pollution problem. In contrast, eco friendly pens are designed with sustainability in mind. These pens are made with materials that are biodegradable, recycled, or renewable.
In our post, we will share some of the best options for eco friendly pens. While switching to more sustainable pens is just a small piece of the puzzle, it’s one simple step forward towards a more eco minded, zero waste home.
Can You Recycle Pens?
If you are like me, you probably have quite a few disposable plastic pens already lying around the house. Of course, the most sustainable pen is the one you already own! Use up the pens that you have first and foremost. However, I’m sure you’re wondering if these plastic pens can be recycled. And the answer is yes and no.
You can’t place your dried up plastic pens in curbside recycling. While these pens are made of plastic, this doesn’t mean they can be easily recycled with other plastic materials.
TerraCycle does have a pen recycling program. Not only do they accept used pens, but they also recycle other stationery items including glue sticks, highlighters, mechanical pencils, and water color containers.
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Best Eco Friendly Pens
As you know, supporting small businesses is my favorite! So of course, we are starting out our list with an awesome stainless steel pen from the small business and zero waste stationery supply brand, Wisdom Supply Co. This plastic free pen comes with 3 stainless steel black ink refills and is packaged in a paper tube.
Update: Wisdom Supply Co has a limited stock quantity of this pen and won’t be restocking. You can find this pen on Amazon if it is sold out at Wisdom Supply. >>> It’s here – Stainless Steel Pen.
Not only is this eco pen more sustainable, but it can also potentially save you money since you will only need to purchase the pen refills.
Check with your local recycling facility, but you should be able to recycle these pens with scrap metal since they are stainless steel.
A paper based pen? Say what! This brand is super cool! They make pens using recycled cardboard with plastic/ wheat straw ends. 50% less plastic is used to create these eco pens in comparison to traditional pens.
It’s made with all compostable and recyclable materials and they ship plastic free! They even use soy-based, non-toxic ink in their pens. AND they plant a tree with every order. They’re a carbon neutral brand.
A refillable fountain pen is a stylish eco friendly option! This Matte Black Forest Fountain pen comes highly rated on Amazon. It’s a really beautiful writing utensil and would be a great gift. This is a sustainable pen option because you simply order refill ink cartridges for this pen whenever it runs out of ink instead of tossing the pen. You can find the refillable cartridges on Amazon as well.
Looking for biodegradable pens? This might be the best option for you. These pens are completely plastic free. These recyclable pens are made with kraft paper, which can be decorated, labeled, and personalized. You could even have your company logo or company name added to these pens! They use a stainless steel core for their pens to help reduce plastic pollution.
The pack includes 24 tactile and lightweight black biro pens. The outer kraft paper casing is biodegradable and compostable. The inner stainless steel ink well is completely recyclable.
These would be an especially great option if you need disposable pens for a special event but don’t want all the plastic waste! They could use them as promotional products for your small business even.
Lamy is an extremely popular writing utensil brand. While this pen might be a splurge, it is a great option that will last you a lifetime. It’s definitely the best quality pen on our list here! The high quality Lamy 2000 is so revered that it is on permanent display at the Museum of Modern Art. You can purchase a separate ink bottle to refill the ink in this pen.
Onyx and Green has a wide selection of eco friendly pen options. From pens made with recycled plastic bottles to pens made with bamboo, they have plenty of pen styles to choose from. They even have recycled coffee bean and recycled milk carton pens. Pretty cool! They have pens at a variety of price points as well. Their bamboo and corn plastic pens are one of their best sellers. An added bonus is they offer free shipping on all orders over $40.
Honestly, this one seems too good to be true, am I right? A plantable pen!? How perfect. These are handmade pens with a recycled paper barrel. They have seeds in the end of each pen and you can plant the them. My only concern with this pen is I can’t find what the ink well is made of. This would be such a fun gift for the eco-minded friend in your life. According to this brand, each pen reduce 6 grams of plastic from impacting th environment.
I debated putting this brand on our list but here we go! Conscience Concepts may not be the perfect eco pen but they’re moving in the right direction. They make pens using cork and a recycled wheat straw/plastic combo.
Cork is an excellent sustainable resource because a cork tree is able to shed & regrow its bark causing no harm to the tree. Wheat straw is the leftover byproduct from harvesting grains. This waste is often burned for disposal. I love that this brand upcycles this byproduct to use in the production of their pens.
These retractable ballpoint pens are not refillable.
It’s not a pen, but it’s still a really cool eco friendly writing tool! Have you heard of Sprout Pencils? They are the original plantable pencil. Different pencils have different seeds in them but they grow into herbs, flowers, vegetables and even spruce trees.
Sprout pencils are 100% eco-friendly, non-toxic, and biodegradable. These graphite pencils and their packaging are either PEFC or FSC certified. This means that every time a tree is harvested, another one is planted.
These would be such a sweet teacher gift!
While the most eco-friendly pens are the ones you already have at home, we are lucky to have so many wonderful sustainably made pen options these days to help you reduce your household’s environmental impact. From refillable fountain pens to recycled plastic pens, there is a wide variety of options to fit everyone’s writing needs, style, and budget.
While researching eco friendly pens, I did notice quite a bit of greenwashing. There aren’t completely zero waste pens available on the market just yet but the brands I’ve shared above will definitely help you reduce plastic pollution and support companies that value sustainability. Choosing a sustainably made pen is a great way to jump start your eco friendly journey. Please be sure to share your favorite eco pen choice in the comments!