Can I borrow your pen?

Last week I wrote about the Climate Change Challenge and its good to see that everyone’s keeping their heads down, hoping that no one sees you sitting there.

Here in Sherborne we’ve been thinking about ways to reduce our material consumption in general, the environmental damage that we do, and our carbon footprint in particular . . . and then there are the plastic pens. Read on!

Always refer to Douglas Adams if you possibly can: “Somewhere in the cosmos there is a planet entirely given over to ballpoint life forms. And it was to this planet that unattended ballpoints would make their way, slipping away quietly through wormholes in space to a world where they knew they could enjoy a uniquely ballpointoid lifestyle, responding to highly ballpoint-oriented stimuli, and generally leading the ballpoint equivalent of the good life.”
Sherborne is a kind of waystation on the way there, as we seem to exist in a constant tidal flux of overabundance and no bloody pens anywhere.

Its been a long time since I bought a biro; a designerly uni-ball, of course, and, on several occasions, coloured markers. But why ever buy a biro when there are so many freebies on offer. Let’s take a close look at those pen pots scattered around the house.

I want to make a point here. I’m not having a pop at any of the companies listed below. This is standard practice and we do it without a second thought . . . but maybe that’s the point; we need to do lots of second thinking.

  • Abacus
  • Anolis
  • Antoinette Hotels (in Wimbledon)
  • Holiday Inn Express (just the nine of those)
  • Hyatt Hotels
  • Illuma lighting
  • ILP
  • Institute of Physics
  • Lledo
  • Lux Live (well – what did you expect)
  • Mode lighting
  • Osram
  • Recolight
  • Red Rooms (in Holborn)
  • Regency FCB (dyestuffs: and complete with LED torch)
  • Seoul Semiconductors – Sunlike version
  • Trilux
  • WE – Wurd Elektronik
  • W Hotels

Around half of these can be taken apart. But when its too easy to grab hold of another plastic writing stick,, why would anyone bother. They are the sort of thing we play with in a boring meeting, then lose the spring out of the middle and have to throw it away.

There’s a second group of freebies; these are metal bodies and minimal plastic.

  • Dyson
  • Holophane
  • NJO Technology
  • P4 Fastel

Little or no plastic but, as far as I can see, only the NJO pen can be fitted with a refill. The Dyson pen is super-sexy as you’d expect – but still a throwaway.

. . . and a final shout-out to our friends at Nualight – for a PENCIL. Its wood and graphite – and it writes. And you can sharpen it with a thing called a pencil sharpener.

So, we’re on a mission. We won’t be replacing any of our free pen supply. As they wear out they will join the great landfill in the sky (pace Douglas Adams) – and we are looking into fountain pens and ink bottles. I see that the Smythson Viceroy Grand is only £595.00


Now don’t get me started on the memory sticks . . .

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