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!

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 ūüôā

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

Umbrella

Well, it was raining here in London when I left the house this morning, and my umbrella closed itself twice just as I was walking down the road! So I thought maybe it’s time for a new one … but is it even possible to get an eco friendly umbrella?

It seems there definitely are some possibilities! Obviously the cheapest and greenest option – going without an umbrella entirely – isn’t really something that appeals! But umbrellas made from recycled products such as plastic bottles are available (if slightly pricey!) Here are some of the ideas I’ve come across so far; I hope they help you to find the ideal eco¬†umbrella!

  • WWF Eco Umbrella, ¬£29.95 – the canopy is apparently made of 100% recycled plastic bottlesWWF Eco Umbrella. And it has the bonus of supporting a good cause too!
  • Remarkable, an online eco shop, sells a variety of eco umbrells, ranging from ¬£23 to ¬£40, the more eco friendly the more expnsive of course, unfortunately. I would be most tempted by the 100% Recycled Blue Umbrella, as it also had a bamboo handle and shaft. But do I really want to spend ¬£40 on an umbrella? Not really…
  • For something a bit weirder, how about this Eco Brolly?¬† (Although I haven’t worked out where to go on the website to actually buy it!) Basically it’s¬†a foldable frame that¬†you can attach an item¬†– newspaper, plastic bag etc. – to¬†as the canopy. Quirkiest idea I’ve found so far!

But what if you don’t want to buy a new umbrella? Although I’ve never tried it myself, I’ve found a good guide online on how to fix a broken umbrella. This is the best solution to both fixing your umbrella and avoiding having to buy a new one!

When I started this post, I was focused mainly on finding a new eco umbrella, but I think I might try and fix my old one before I spend the money on something new! What do you think? Have you tried any of these suggestions or something similar?

Have a green week!