Zero Waste Alternatives: The Fountain Pen

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Everyone has a profound moment once in a while which seems to be the catalyst for change. There may be quite a few steps leading up to that moment, with each of those just as important, but somehow that one sticks in our head as ‘’the moment’’.

As I was going through a round something of my clear out (will post on this soon) I seemed to be finding pens everywhere. There were pens in the draws, bags, bathroom, the small creek of the fridge door (wtf). 

I went into a bit of a pen frenzy and tried to find all the pens in the house.




I found over 60 pens. Six Zero. I don’t think I have bought any of them, I just seemed to accumulate them.  That was the moment when it sort of sank that I most definitely have too much stuff, especially the disposable plastic ones. Surely a person only ever needs one pen!

I remember as a kid having a ‘’special pen’’ which I used to write with. My parents would buy me one at the start of the year and I would use it at school. 

I got a fountain pen last year for my birthday and I have been using it ever since.  It is currently ‘’living’’ in my purse so I have access to it all the time. I absolutely love writing with it and every time I use it, it feels like I am writing with something special. The thing about a fountain pen is that you can’t scribble really fast. You have to take your time and write properly so it makes writing even the dullest notes into a pleasurable experience.

Instead of buying disposable refills, I have bought a converter and a bottle of ink. I have been using the same converter for over a year now and it works great.  I used to fill up my pen before going to work each day. I now carry a tiny air tight bottle in my purse so I can fill it up whenever I need to.


By using ink from a bottle rather then cartridges, I have saved up literally hundreds of refills. I can’t find a stainless steel tiny bottle that would not spill and so I use Nalgene durable tiny plastic bottle. It is not an ideal solution as I want to reduce my plastic consumption, but nevertheless it is still better than using refills. The bottle is made out of sturdy plastic and so it will last for years when it eventually gets recycled. 

You can get all sorts of different ink shades. I am planning to invest into another fountain pen which I will fill with coloured ink so that I have two different colours.

In case you are wondering what I did with the pens, I gave it to my friend who used them up at work. There are different charity schemes which collect pens and send them to countries where kids can’t afford to buy stationery. It is a wonderful idea in principle but in my opinion these countries often don’t have recycling facility for the pens and so we are essentially creating an offshore landfill. There must be other ways we can support education where it is needed which don't leave a plastic footprint behind. 

If you are looking for a way to dispose your pens, you can recycle them via the Terracycle Programme. All you need to do is find your local collection point and drop your pens there.
I still have a couple of pens left in my kitchen, which I am waiting to use up and after that, adios plastic pens.

P.S Start a love affair with fountain pen