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Eco-Friendly Pens & Sustainable Writing Equipment

Have you ever considered the waste generated from the writing materials you use? When making eco-friendly choices, our pens and pencils may not immediately come to mind. However, if people intentionally choose their writing materials, it makes a difference to the environment. Eco-friendly pens reduce the negative impact that plastic pens make on our planet. 

We use writing tools daily to take notes, journal, or simply sign documents. Consider the number of pens and pencils you own, those you’ve tossed out, or those you simply can’t find. Imagine this in almost every household across the world.

So, whether you’re buying writing items for office supplies or school or to write your thoughts, why not consider sustainable options? In this article, we’ll give a run-down of some eco-friendly pens and pencils. 

The Impact of Pens and Pencils on the Environment

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Many of us go through several pens a year. The truth is that the manufacturers make many of these from plastic. As a result, traditional plastic pens will not biodegrade when tossed away or end up in landfills.

Although it’s possible to recycle pens, the process is not as straightforward as tossing them into our recycling bins. This is because of the remnants of metals and ink left in pens. There are options for signing up with recycling programs for this. But billions still in landfills remain a problem. In the United States alone, the population discards 1.6 billion pens each year. 

Plastic Pens Take a Long Time to Decompose

The thing is, plastic takes 100s of years to decompose, harming the environment. Consider the harmful effects of ink on the soil. Ink can contaminate water as well.

When it comes to pencils, the mechanical types might seem like the best alternative. We can refill and use them over and over again. However, many of them are made from plastic materials. In a situation where people toss out these writing materials regularly, it becomes a problem for the environment.

To prevent the use of new wood for wooden pencils, there are eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives. Progressive companies are paying attention to these details and even effectively using post-consumer waste and recycled plastic.

Your choice of writing utensils plays at least something of a role in your environmental footprint. As small as these materials seem, added up, they do indeed have environmental costs. 

Sustainable Pens & Writing Utensils

Looking for eco-friendly alternatives to consider for your next pen or pencil purchase? There are a lot of them. We’ve highlighted some of the best eco-friendly pens to consider. These alternatives reduce waste caused by plastics, are long-lasting, and are generally eco-friendly. Before we get into the product picks, here’s a general list of things to look out for:

  • Recycled newspaper pencils
  • Modern fountain pens
  • Eco-friendly wood pencils
  • Recycled plastic bottle pens
  • Sustainable bamboo wood pens
  • Refillable pens
  • Inkless pens 

Pens with ink cartridges have also been identified as a more sustainable option over time. However, a lot of manufacturers make many of these ink cartridges with plastic. Although an ink cartridge will give new life to a pen, it can lead to waste in the long run. 

5 Eco-Friendly Pens

It’s time to ditch disposable plastic pens. Here are our recommendations for eco-friendly pens from different brands: 

1. BIC Ecolutions Round Stic Ballpoint Pen


BIC is one of the leading stationery companies in the world. The brand manufactures and distributes affordable pens used worldwide. In fact, BIC has been in the industry for over 60 years.

With the importance of innovation in today’s world, the company prioritizes identifying challenges and solutions. The BIC Ecolutions pen is one of these, providing an alternative to the regular plastic disposable ball pen.

The company created this environmentally friendly pen for eco-conscious people looking for good performance. They make each ballpoint pen from 74% recycled plastic and offer a versatile 1.0mm medium point. According to the brand, they designed each pen for comfort and convenience. Each box contains 50 pens. 

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2. Pilot B2P Gel Pen


Looking for an eco-friendly, colorful gel pen for your creative journaling or doodling activities? The Pilot B2P pen is an eco-conscious pen that gives you just that. Pilot, who offers a diverse collection of writing materials, created the world’s first pen made from recycled water bottles. People know the brand for its innovative writing solutions. 

The B2P or Bottle 2 Pen gel pen is made from 89% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. There are 27 different colors to choose from. Also, each retractable rollerball pen has ink refills available, and you’ll find them comfortable to hold. Each of their recycled plastic pens offers a latex-free rubber grip.

Each pen features Pilot’s G2 gel ink color for smooth writing. If you’re looking for the black ink pen alternative, Pilot provides that as well. Perfect for jotting a note in your eco-friendly journal or on the back of a sustainable business card.

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3. Eco Pen Club’s Colourful Eco-friendly Ballpoint Pen

Eco Pen Club Eco Friendly Pens
Photo Credit: Eco Pen Club

Small businesses can be eco-friendly, too. In this light, Eco Pen Club is a small retail store targeted at writing materials. The brand creates sustainable writing materials for everyday use, including eco-friendly pens. 

This particular product, the colorful eco-friendly ballpoint pen, is an alternative to plastic disposable pens. These eco-friendly pens are made from recycled cardboard and plastic/wheat ends. These materials can be composted and recycled, making the pen environmentally friendly.

Additionally, this ballpoint pen’s ink is non-toxic. As a result, the pen ink won’t cause harm. You can choose from three different pen ink colors: mixed, black, and blue. According to the owner, the pens are produced by a factory that’s approved by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). 

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4. Onyx + Green Eco-Friendly Bamboo and Corn Ballpoint Pens

Biodegradable? Check. Eco-friendly? Check. Recycled packaging? Check. This brand creates its plastic-free pens from bamboo and corn plastic, featuring rubber grips. With the motto of Onyx and Green being “the greener, the better,” this pen speaks true to that.

Danny Fonfeder created this brand as a response to the need for eco-friendly stationery, office, and school supplies. And, of course, a better choice of pen. In addition, the brand creates these products as alternatives to regular plastic stationery that are not eco-friendly. The brand goal is also to maintain a decent price range. 

The brand offers a variety of pen offerings crafted from all-natural, recycled plastic and post-consumer waste and materials. These bamboo and corn pens come in a pack of 2. The brown and green branding mimics the colors of nature or the forest. 

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5. Mandorra Eco-Friendly Pens 


This collection of 10 pens offers a sustainable alternative to a regular plastic writing utensil. All of Mandorra’s eco-friendly pens are made from 100% recycled plastic and cardboard. Using recycled plastics helps reduce plastic waste in landfills. 

Considering the growing number of plastic pens that end up in landfills or even waterways, this option is sustainable. These are non-toxic, biodegradable pens and reduce waste caused by plastics.

Each blue ink pen features a medium point 1.0mm tip and a smooth, natural stem for grip. If you love colors, each pack consists of 10 pens with different outer colors. The manufacturers created them to last long and for maximum efficiency. 

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Fountain Pens

Alongside our recommendations above, which we’ve chosen to replace plastic disposable pens at the right price, you can also choose a fountain pen. The fountain pen basically differs from the now ubiquitous rollerball pens as it has a refillable ink reservoir in the handle. 

With a huge variety of fountain pen choices out there, from ones you can use every day to luxury high-end items. As such, you can choose your fountain pen to match your budget and style. Some people prefer them to ballpoint pens as the ink flows more naturally. For eco-friendly options, seek one with ink refills in a glass ink bottle rather than plastic canisters. 

5 Eco-Friendly Pencils

Wooden pencils are generally considered entirely sustainable since they’re made from trees. These trees are renewable resources, and they degrade easily.

Although the energy needed to produce these is significantly lower than that of a mechanical pencil, they still have an impact. For instance, lead has an impact on the environment. To curb this impact, here’s a rundown of eco-friendly pencils from different brands:

1. By Amber and Rose Pencil Set

Photo Credit: Amber and Rose

Looking for back-to-school eco gifts for the kids? Or just a little set for yourself? This By Amber and Rose set of pencils is the perfect eco-friendly pencil package. Amber and Rose is a sustainable brand with fair-trade handmade goods collections. Wherever possible, they ensure products are made from recycled materials. The owners prioritize eco-friendly materials, right from creation to eco-friendly packaging. 

Their high-quality and colorful 2mm HB pencils come wood-free. These are hand-rolled using 100% recycled newspapers. The goal is to contribute to reducing unwanted waste globally and reduce the use of unsustainable sources. The pencil collection comes in a set of 5 or a set of 10. 

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2. Sprout Graphite Plantable Pencils


Sprout makes its plant pencils from 100% natural material. The great part? You can plant your pencil once you’re done with it. Each pencil comes with a biodegradable seed capsule that contains a coveted seed variety. So, once your pencil becomes too small to use, you can plant the stub. The startup behind this innovation, Sprout, conceived this ‘plantable pencil’ idea as a sustainable response to traditional pencils.

These pencils are non-toxic, lead-free, and contain 100% natural clay graphite core, and wood. To stay true to its values, the company ensures that the wood for these pencils comes from sustainable forests. Meaning, that whenever a tree is harvested to make pencils, a new tree is planted to replace it.

Sprout prides itself on setting sustainable examples for people. Each of their collections contains eight eco-friendly pencils in different colors and plant seed capsules. From pencils to plants, does it get more sustainable than this? 

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3. Tree Smart Recycled Newspaper Pencils

tree smart newspaper pencil
Photo Credit: Tree Smart

These 24-set pencils are great as office writing materials, for school, eco-gifting, or simply to take notes. This is a good starter kit from Tree Smart. This brand deliberately creates sustainable writing materials from recycled material.

The founder, Chris Stangland, initially conceived the idea for the company following a business trip to China. There, he was exposed to the concept of newspaper pencils. Chris vowed that he would study how newspapers could be turned into a sustainable and usable product. Since birthing the company in 2010, it has expanded to include the manufacturing of school supply boxes and pencil case options.  

Tree Smart creates these pencils from 100% recycled newspapers tree-free. The manufacturers tightly roll newspaper strips to form the pencils. In addition, they create pencils to support recycling, smooth writing, and easy sharpening. 

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4. Natural Wood Colouring Pencils

Natural Wood Coloring Pencils

This lovely set of 6 colored pencils comes wrapped in minimal recycled card packaging, complete with a little bow. Kids will love them, and they make perfect gifts. Not excluding adults who may like to have a set handy for any spur-of-the-moment artistic endeavors.

Made from natural wood, these handmade eco-pencils are dispatched from the UK.

Crafty Birdie Designs has nearly a thousand 5-star reviews at the time of writing and a lovely range of other nature-inspired crafts and coloring books for use with your pencils.

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5. Three Leaf Recycled Paper Pencils


These pencils are made from recycled paper rather than from trees. This means they are a woodless and sustainable pencil option. The 2B pencils are biodegradable and environmentally friendly. The brand Three Leaf values transforming paper waste into pencils to avoid the cutting down of trees. The brand also creates these paper pencils by avoiding the use of chemicals, making them both environmentally friendly and child-friendly. 

Additionally, a latex-free and smudge-free rubber eraser is at the bottom of each pencil. If you’re worried about how hard these pencils are, the company crafts them from tight paper rolls. Therefore, they are solid and hard. They support your everyday writing experience and offer easy sharpening and recycling. According to the company, “as they are completely toxic-free, they can be used at schools and preschools”. 

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Given the information above, you can kickstart your sustainable pen and pencil supplies journey. By intentionally choosing your writing equipment, you help to reduce plastic waste and the effects of harmful ingredients on the environment. It’s easy to ignore the impact these little things cause while focusing on the big lifestyle changes.

However, something as simple as using eco-friendly pens and pencils is environmentally friendly. It also promotes the use of recycled material and furthers your eco-conscious choices. From recycled plastic and fountain pens to plantable and tree-free pencils, pick one up today and know that you are writing for the planet.

Photo by Angelina Litvin on Unsplash
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