Fountain Pens and Sustainability

It’s a bit of a tough time right now if you’re a recycler. The recycling industry is in trouble. China doesn’t want the US’ recyclable goods anymore, and manufacturers have fewer incentives to use recycled materials. I’d been reading a little bit about this in the news, but it hadn’t affected me; our city has had a long-standing curbside recycling program, accepting glass, cardboard, aluminum, and plastic. But then, the industry issues got personal: about a week ago, our city announced that as of today, April 1st, we can no longer recycle plastic. The reason? Our area’s sole recycling processor has stopped accepting plastic AND glass. Our city will still collect glass; they’ve found a way to repurpose it. But our ability to recycle plastic is completely gone.

This has hit me hard. I’ve had images of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, littered beaches, overflowing landfills, and more filling my mind. As a family, we’re taking a really hard look at the disposable plastics in our home, and finding ways to reduce or eliminate them. It seems like the best thing we can do immediately. We just started buying local milk in glass containers that we can return to be reused. I’m swearing off of single-use plastic bags; I’ll take my own reusable canvas bags to the grocery store every time. I’m also looking at things like reusable zip bags, beeswax reusable food wraps, mesh produce bags, and shampoo bars. And, I’ll be the crazy lady at the restaurant with a big purse that can accommodate a few reusable containers, in case we’re dining out and need to take leftovers home. The fact that this last one will embarrass the kids is just a bonus ;-)

So as you can tell, I’ve been feeling a bit of despair and scrambling to problem-solve; but then I found a silver lining: good pens are a model of sustainability! YAY! My business, which I already love for making an effort to preserve the writing culture in an increasingly digital world, also promotes a more sustainable lifestyle. So, three cheers for all of you out there using good pens… even a good, refillable ballpoint pen, rollerball, or mechanical pencil is far better than a single-use disposable one. And if a fountain pen is your thing - especially if you’re using a piston converter and bottled ink, or a pen you can eyedropper: you get bonus points! You’re making sure the world has fewer cheapo pens in the landfills. It may seem like a small thing, but think about a lifetime of using one really great pen, as opposed to tossing a disposable pen(cil) every time the ink or lead runs out. So: keep writing with good pens, and encourage your friends and family to do the same. It won’t solve all the world’s trash problems, but it’s a good step in the right direction.

One final note: you won’t be seeing bubble wrap in your orders from Points anymore. I’m swearing off of that, too. We’ll be using packing paper from now on!