Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Biodegradable Pen

Today I bought some new ball point pens from a large stationary store/chain here in Australia. I found the most bizarre product and one that I never thought would come with any sort of environmental options, but I found a pen that is being marketed as 'biodegradable'.

Gimmick or fact? The details are sketchy and whether it is any more degradable than the next pen made out of normal plastic or better for the environment on face value I have no idea but the gimmick factor intrigued me so I purchased a pack of two. Comparatively maybe a little bit more expensive than a middle of the range pack of 2 ball point pens.

Upon reading the fine print, the main outside pen components are the biodegradable parts, as they are made from corn based material (as the packaging explains) and basically the rest of the pen are your typical of a standard pen. These normal pen components need to go into the normal rubbish process, whilst the corn based material (the outer pen shaft) can go on the other hand can go into your compost or into the soil and it sounds like it will take about a year to break down. Interesting product and process if it truly does work.

Overall as I said I don't know whether the footprint of the product is truly any better or worse than a standard ball point pen. This is where I need to start looking into life cycle assessments and how to do them accurately enough to make a judgement about the environmental footprint of products and services from my living room or whilst in the shops.
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1 comment:

  1. Hi Susan, I agree. The details of the footprint and making of the pen are somewhat shady. There is a 98% biodegradable pen on the market by US company DBA - - the pens are actually made in the US! the details of this pen are very clearly stated on the website.