Left Continue shopping
Your Order

You have no items in your basket

01884 259856 8:30-4:00pm Mon to Fri

The Best Eco-Friendly Pens

It’s just a pen, how much harm could it do to the environment? Well, admittedly, not a lot, relatively speaking. But the more of us there are trying to do a bit better, the better things get. It’s a small improvement, but enough people making small improvements can be a big improvement.

And a step in the right direction is still an improvement, so don’t think that if you’re not ready to go for the very best option available, or can’t work out what that would be for you, that you’re not making a difference - an improvement is still an improvement.

And it can be so difficult to know what the ‘perfect’ choice would be that there’s probably going to be a point where you just have to decide you’ve gone as far as you can. And that’s ok.

BIC 4-Colour MultipenStop Using Disposable Pens

If you’re still throwing away a pen after using it, that’s a good first step. And even before that, keeping track of your pen, and using it all the way could be a big improvement. Using a cheap disposable pen until the ink is all gone still produces half the waste of losing it and effectively throwing it away when it’s still half full.

But there are lots of refillable pens and very low prices, which reduce the waste even further. And some pens you might expect to be disposable do have refills available. That BIC 4-Colour pen that gets thrown out when the black is used up? You can get a black refill, and keep using it. Those Pilot G2 gel pens that are so popular? They’re refillable.

Pilot BegreeN B2P Recycled Gel Rollerball Pen by Pilot at Cult PensRecycled Pens

There are quite a few pens made from recycled materials, which can be even better. Refill one of those a few times, and there’s a big saving in plastics being used.


Wooden pencils are a little mixed in their eco-credentials. They’re wood, and most reputable brands are using wood from carefully managed sources. And when you sharpen it, the pencil shavings are compostable wood. The ‘lead’ is, of course, not actually lead, it’s graphite.

But they do need to be made from good, flat pieces of wood, and you might rarely be in a position to sharpen over a compost bin. So the ‘all-natural’ argument might not be as clear-cut as you’d think. A mechanical pencil or clutch pencil may well be made of plastic, but once it’s been made once, you could be putting lead in it for many years, with no wood being used.

Which is the better option? Honestly, we don’t know, and it likely depends on many factors. But if you prefer a mechanical pencil, we think you could make a good argument it’s no worse for the environment than wooden pencils.

A TWSBI fountain pen with ink wellFountain Pens

With ballpoint and rollerball pens, even if you refill them hundreds of times, each time still produces some waste - the refill itself. Fountain pen cartridges have the same problem. But a fountain pen filled using bottled ink? No waste at all until the bottle runs out. And even then, the bottles are usually glass, which can be recycled. The caps are usually plastic, but that’s a fairly small piece of waste after maybe 50 times of refilling your pen.

And a good fountain pen can last a lifetime - or quite possibly more than one lifetime!


There’s a lot you can do, even if you don’t want to go all the way to the best option. A fountain pen using bottled ink is likely the most environmentally-friendly type of pen available. But just using refills can make a big difference. And even if you want to stick to disposable pens, a bit of extra care to use them up can make a real difference.