Using a fountain pen to reduce plastic

World Environment Day occurs this year on Tuesday June 5th 2018, so we are focusing on blog posts with information about being environmentally sustainable. In this post, our Environment Editor Kate Davis tells us about how she does her bit by using a fountain pen. Over to Kate…

There is currently a focus on reducing plastic use, particularly single use plastic. This a big change as we have been developing a throw away culture using more and more single use plastic. Usually in the name of convenience.

A plastic bag tax has already been introduced. And there is an increasing focus on reducing coffee cups, baby wipes, cotton buds and sanitary towels. What will be next?

One thing you may not have thought about yet is pens. It is very easy to get hold of pens either buying them in bulking or getting them as freebies. But have you considered that most of them are made of plastic? Plus how do you treat them? If you’re honest, you probably don’t look after them well and don’t worry about losing, breaking or throwing them away.

There is another way. Refillable pens.

You can buy refillable pens in many format e.g. ballpoint and once it has run out you replace the refill. This means you throw away less as you keep the pen barrel. The ultimate is using a refillable fountain pen as the only waste produced is an ink bottle. And that will probably take more than a year; my bottles of ink seem to go on and on.

Pen Heaven* recently sent me a Lamy fountain pen to test and I’ve been using it with my new journal. This pen comes with cartridges, but using a converter instead means I can use one of my bottles of ink. My current ink is blue with silver sparkles!

Lamy pen

Some people consider fountain pens to be inconvenient as they run out of ink quicker than ballpoint pens. But they just take a bit of planning. And that is worth it to have a lovely writing experience (assuming you’ve chosen a fountain pen that writes nicely). I tend to use fountain pens in two locations and keep a different pen at each place. I keep a bottle of purple ink on my work desk to use with the Cross pen I got as a 25th birthday present. For my journal writing I keep a fountain pen and bottle of ink on my bedside table. I’m currently using the Lamy, but I’ll probably change back to my previous wooden pen as it writes smoother.

Fountain pens and inks

My husband uses a different approach as he has a portable ink well. The ink well holds enough for about three pen fills of a pen and is secure so has has not experienced any leaks. Another option is to use cartridges which will involve throwing away some plastic but less than a whole pen.

Fountain pens can be cheap, with the Lamy pen I’ve been testing being less than £25. They are also easy to buy as even supermarkets tend to a have a few available. However, if you want more choice, better quality pens and bottles of ink you will need to go to a stationers or pen retailer. The range of fountain pens available appears to be increasing so you will be able to find something that fits your budget whether at supermarket end or the high end such as my husband’s Yard-O-Led pen which was over £400!

Do you remember when you last used a fountain pen? Do you have a favourite pen to write with? 

If you want more ideas on how you can reduce plastic check our the BritMums Environment Round-up posts where I share lots of suggestions from the BritMum community.

*Disclosure: I was sent this fountain pen for the purpose of this review. All words and comments are my own

Learn more about Pen Heaven at

For more information about World Environment Day on June 5th 2018 visit the website or search #BeatPlasticPollution on social media. World Environment Day is an environmental awareness day, run by the United Nations.

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1 Comment

  1. 29 May 2018 / 09:45

    I started using fountain pens (Lamys in fact) a few years ago when I received one as a gift. I now have a selection in a range of colours (easy to find in the bottom of my handbag) and I prefer using them to anything else. I like that I’m not throwing away an entire pen and the experience is so much nicer.

    Your post has convinced me to get a converter and refill wtih ink from a pot. Thanks for highlighting the issue (and the benefits!).