brass refillable pen

Once Upon a Tuesday refillable pens offers nice Japanese-made ballpoint pens for smooth writing, in various colours, with refills sold. Made from wood with metal mechanisms, these feature low-viscosity black oil ink.

Keep pens & pencils away from young children & pets. Avoid using plantable pens near pets, as most contain wildflowers. Learn more on how to make your garden safe for pets.

once upon a Tuesday refillable pens

Bic pens were invented back in 1950 and it’s estimated that one pen is sold every minute or so. So you can imagine the billions that are languishing in landfills or strewn on the street worldwide. An estimated 2 billion pens are sold worldwide each year. This collectively means thousands of tons of plastic waste (pens are often missed by sorting machines and end up in our seas). And if you’ve ever accidentally stabbed your hand with a pen, you can imagine how pens harm marine creatures.

Pens are cheap to buy, so sold in multi-packs (in plastic packaging). Some charities give away ‘free pens’ to entice people to donate, and this leads to more plastic waste. Most ballpoint pens are made from different types of plastic, so are very difficult to recycle. The plastic used (styrene) is listed as one of the world’s 100 most hazardous chemicals, so not good for the people in factories who make them either. And the small caps are made from a ‘safer plastic’, but are so small they often clog recycling machines.

a bamboo refillable ballpoint pen

bamboo stylus eco pen

Tuska bamboo stylus pen is made from the world’s fastest-growing grass (industrial bamboo is not the same as fresh shoots eaten by pandas). Made from metal with refills, this lightweight comfy pen has a metal clip to attach to notebooks.

biodegradable & compostable ballpoint pens

plastic-free ballpoint biro pens

Plastic-free ballpoint biros are made from recycled paper, right down to the nib. All elements (and packaging) biodegrade at end of use.  Just soak in hot water for a few minutes to unravel the paper shaft, then recycle the stainless steel ink chamber.

leakproof (refillable) modern fountain pens

Lumos refillable pen

Fountain pens have moved on from the ones that required fiddly ink pots that leaked down your shirt. Tom’s Studio was founded by a craftsman who was inspired to create refillable pens, after watching his wife use a plastic mass-produced calligraphy pen, which he did not feel matched the quality of her beautiful work. A former furniture designer, he decided to create something better.

Lumos refillable pen

The range is extensive, but the basic most affordable items for everyday use are the Lumos mini (a portable alternative to biro pens) and fountain pocket pens (with interchangeable nibs). Both are easily refilled using Tom’s water-based & vegan-friendly fountain pen inks.

If you do leak ink on your shirt, immediately cover with a little salt and dab with a wet paper towel, then brush until the stain disappears. If that doesn’t work, blot the stain and soak with a sponge and a little rubbing alcohol for 15 minutes. If that doesn’t work, mix cool water with oxygen bleach and soak for 8 hours, before laundering.

a refillable pen (from upcycled firearms)

humanium pen

The Humanium Pen writes with blue or black soy ink, and is designed to last forever (you can recycle the parts). The beauty of this pen is that it’s made from melted upcycled (illegal confiscated) firearms (2000 people daily are wounded worldwide by one of the 875 million firearms in circulation). Packed in a cork and aluminium box (which serves as a pen-holder), made with clean energy.

where to recycle plastic pens & pencils 

Terracycle offers a free writing instruments recycling programme, sponsored by industry. Just order a box for your office, school or community then everyone can deposit unwanted pens, pencils, highlighters, correction fluids, felt-tips pens and erasers. You can also download a poster to display near the recycling box, and all items are sent off to be made into other things (like park benches).

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