Pens

This week’s topic is one that has been bothering me pretty much since I started writing this blog. Can you recycle a pen? Can you buy eco-friendly pens? Should you even stop using pens altogether?

Pens are made of a lot of different components, including plastic, metal and ink. Because there as so many different bits, it’s currently very difficult to recycle them. You could take them all apart and try to recycle all the bits separately, but I’m not sure how many of the pieces would actually be able to make it through the recycling process. With this, I think that the best way to go is to contact your local recycling facility. If you can find out the type of plastic the main part of your pen is then you might be able to recycle that too.

But there aren’t any nationwide programmes to recycle pens. Unless you’re willing to use the components to make other things, or to create pen artwork (it’s true, some people do it!), then I feel a little stumped. Pens are everywhere…school, work, you get given them free wherever you go, and they seem to breed at home. Plus I used to love buying new stationary so I bought a lot for myself too, which are now lying around, half-used.

I think for this topic my main pointers are:

  • Try not to pick up new pens, whether they’re freebies, handed to you at work or staring temptingly at you from a shop shelf.
  • Use the pens you already have. I think that if you’ve already got something, it’s even more of a waste to throw it away without using it. So stick to using the pens you have at home – this could save you money too! I took a pen I got in a Christmas cracker to work the other day, instead of getting a new one from the stationary cupboard.
  • Use pens that allow you to replace the ink component or ink cartridge (such as a fountain pen). Although this is still generating waste, I think that this is less than it would be if you bought a whole new pen.
  • If you do need to buy a new one, find one made from recycled materials. Although it’s unlikely you’ll be able to find a pen made from recycled pens, this option is better than buying one made from brand new materials. A lot of websites sell pens made from recycled materials (such as Nigel’s Eco Store and Eco-Gifts, to arbitrarily name a couple). The charity WWF also sells pens and pencils made from recycled materials.

What do you think? Do you do a lot of writing by hand? Or maybe you’ve gone completely digital and have no use for pens any more? I’ve love to hear if you’ve thought of any solutions!

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100 Happy Days #2

Continuing my project to notice and enjoy the simple things in life. Here is a selection of the things that have made me happy in the last couple of weeks.

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A cup of raspberry leaf tea in the morning.

 

Congratulations card on ending my internship for a new job.

I was offered a new job a couple of weeks ago, and received this congratulations card from the staff at the charity I was interning for when I left.

 

The latest edition of Om Yoga magazine.

The latest edition of Om Yoga magazine.

 

I finished knitting a jumper for the first time!

I finished knitting a jumper for the first time!

 

I discovered this book in an Oxfam charity shop last weekend - a great and really interesting read, I highly recommend it!

I discovered this book in an Oxfam charity shop last weekend – a great and really interesting read, I highly recommend it!

100 Happy Days #1

I recently read on peonut’s blog about a challenge called 100 Happy Days. You can find the website about it here. Essentially you take a photo of something that makes you happy every day for 100 days. You can share your photos on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or keep them private. I decided that I’d like to share some of my photos on my blog every couple of weeks. For me, this challenge is about finding happiness in simple things, something I am trying to achieve throughout my going green journey. Here are a few of my photos from this week! Let me know if you’re doing this challenge (or anything similar) too; it would be great to see what makes you happy each day. IMG_1277

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I could make this challenge easy for myself and just take a photo of one or both of my cats every day – they always make me happy 🙂

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A lovely sunny blue sky out my window one day – seeing the sun is something that can really brighten up my mood.

I made these cute little Easter cards in an afternoon - I didn't have to go out and buy anything as I already had everything I needed in the house. They make me smile as I think they're cute and I love the patterned papers I used.

I made these cute little Easter cards in an afternoon – I didn’t have to go out and buy anything as I already had everything I needed in the house. I got inspiration from this pin I found on Pinterest; you can find it on its original website here.

This is a very blurry photo as it’s of my laptop screen. I took it when my blog reached 100 followers as this was something that I’d been aiming towards for a while.

Happy photo-taking and Happy Easter! 🙂

Earth Hour

So this post is about the World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour – similar to the National Day of Unplugging, which I previously wrote about, but this is only for an hour.

Basically, the idea is that you turn off all your lights at 8.30pm on Saturday 29th March for an hour – and appliances, TV, computer too if you like – and do something that is better for our planet (for some ideas, check out WWF’s list of 60 Things To Do In The Dark). If you really can’t do it at this time, pick another time instead, I don’t think it really matters! But if you do move it then I’d suggest you should go for a time that you normally have lights blazing and you’re using lots of power, just so it makes more of a difference to you.

I try to do something similar every now and again, but I love the thought of so many people turning their lights out at the same time, all to show solidarity for our world. UK attractions including Big Ben, the London Eye, Brighton Pier and Blackpool Tower will all be turning off their lights – joining in with thousands of people around the world!

One of my favourite ideas is curling up with a good book and some hot chocolate (I have lots of candles so I can make use of them too!), although my sisters should be around that day so I’ll make my priority catching up with them 🙂

Do you think this is a good idea? What are you going to do?

Week 13: Storage Boxes

I was tidying up my craft stuff the other day (I make cards and occasionally scrapbook pages too), and I realised I’d forgotten I had half of it! It all gets buried in the plastic folders that I have, so it’s hard to see what I’ve got. So this week I’m looking at craft storage boxes to see what the best option would be. The same could also apply to jewellery boxes (lots of the ones I’ve found are actually jewellery boxes), tool boxes and anything else similar.

I’ve ruled out buying myself a plastic box, even though these always seem to have the features that would suit me best. Plastic is one of the things I really want to try and avoid as much as possible, since it’s so bad for the environment and hard to recycle. So I would only buy a plastic box if it was second hand. My aim was to find one box for embellishments and little bits and bobs, and one for ribbons. I decided that one of the greenest ways to get a ribbon box was to make one!

Ribbon Box - Before

So I found an old shoe box and covered it in patterned paper (which took longer than I anticipated!) I haven’t finished it quite yet, as I want to cover the inside and punch holes in the sides for the ribbons. This cost me hardly anything and it’s a very green option I think. Everything was already in the house so I didn’t have to buy anything!

Ribbon Box - After

For my other box, I’ve been looking at wooden ones mainly. I’m interested in this large wooden storage box and this wooden tea bag chest, but I can’t find anything listed about the source of the wood, so I’ll try to investigate that before I buy, as it would be great to have a sustainably-sourced box!

Failing that, maybe I’ll source some pre-used wood and attempt to make one myself!

Good luck with going green this week!