Action: Use a fountain pen

Using a fountain pen is another great way to reduce single-use plastic

Yes, we know that this action might seem a little bit old fashioned, but don’t worry, we are not asking you to go back to using a feather quill – just to stop using disposable plastic ballpoint (Biro) pens.

As a collective, we get through millions and millions of these every year.


Once they are empty, they almost always get thrown into the office bin or household waste, where they go on to cause several problems:

  • because of the metal ball and mixed plastic, they are not recyclable
  • they end up in landfill, being incinerated or simply as litter
  • they contribute to our ever-growing worldwide plastic waste mountain
pen and ink

What to do

For this action, we are asking you to buy a refillable fountain (ink) pen and a bottle of ink, like the one pictured here.

After the initial expense of buying the pen, a bottle of ink will last you for ages and ages – even years – so you’ll never have to buy a biro again!

Some fountain pens come with a squeezy refillable cartridge built in. Some come with a slot for plastic non-refillable cartridges which you buy separately. Be sure to buy one that you simply dip into the ink and squeeze to refill, so you are producing no plastic waste at all.

You’ll need to practice a little bit to get used to writing with a different kind of pen, but once you do, most people find that their writing is smoother and more attractive too!

As a bonus, it might even lead to a new hobby – calligraphy or pen-and-ink drawing – and there are some beautiful pens you can buy which make a statement about quality in themselves.

Take action!

Please take this simple action to reduce your use of disposable plastic by switching to a refillable fountain pen – you know it makes sense.

And if you haven’t already, please sign up to receive our fortnightly bulletin of environmental actions YOU can take to contribute to lessening our impact on our world. The simple form is at the foot of this page. Thank you

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