Posted in Reviews, Stories

Eco Friendly Stuff, The Review

At the end of November on Cyber Monday, I highlighted some eco-friendly pen and journaling options. To be transparent, I do not have any vested financial interest in any of the products but I was intrigued and willing to try some out, thus I made some purchases.

For Christmas, my wife got me (she also got me a pen, imagine her surprise) eco-friendly pencils, a fountain pen, and a journal. Let’s see how well they did and what did they cost me.

Rainbow Recycled Paper Pencils, wood and plastic free.

The pencils write and act well… like pencils. I put one in an electric pencil sharpener, no issues there, it took a perfect sharp point. Some Amazon reviewers complained about this but I had no issues. I love the rainbow color. The pencil is made from recycled paper and is wood and plastic-free. The writing material is of premium #2 HB pencil lead, conform with EN71 and ISO9001. When I put the pencil to work, the point did not break (another popular complaint). I was sketching a plan for built-in bookcases, I feel I gave the pencils a good workout. At $1/pencil it’s not the cheapest alternative but I can find plenty of more expensive wood pencils.

Zenzoi bamboo fountain pen

The pen cost $24, is handmade, and is classified as a calligraphy pen! I’m not entirely sure why, as it came with a German medium iridium nib. In the Q&A section another purchaser described it as a medium-bold point pen nib, not flat like a calligraphy nib, it’s more like a Speedball B-6 nib. With a name like Zenzoi, yes it is made in China for Germany. The pen is considered eco-friendly because it is made from bamboo, which as we all know is grass.

Zenzoi, a bamboo pen in a bamboo case

The barrel has a smooth finish with just a slight textured feel. The two blind end caps are rough. I am fighting the desire to get out the Danish Oil and apply a finish to the pen.

The converter is the type that is just pushed into the section. At the end that operates the plunger-screw mechanism is easily detached allowing access for cleaning. In the spirit of being green, I inked it up with Bayou Nightfall by Papier Plume. The ink writes wet, no sheen, and minor feathering.

Bayou Nightfall by Papier Plume

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length 145mm,
  • Uncapped length 123mm,
  • Barrel diameter 11.5mm,
  • Cap diameter 13mm,
  • Pen weighs in at 13g.

Decomposition Notebook

The Decomposition Notebook turned out to be a fake. I know Caveat Emptor but I got it from Amazon and assumed (yes I know about ass-u-me). The good news, is it only cost me $6 and it is no longer available. I recommend going directly to Decomposition where the books are 50%-100% post-consumer waste and printed with soy-based inks. I noticed a couple pocket or field journals, maybe I’ll get one, compare it to the fake, and review it.

On a side note, we have started using cloth unpaper towels in place of paper towels for most clean-ups. They are attractive, highly absorbent, and come in a pack of 10. Alternatively, I guess I could have used hand towels or dishwashing clothes but really, they aren’t as attractive, and honestly, they are not as absorbent.

The Unpaper Towels

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Posted in Pens, Uncategorized

Eco-Friendly Stationery, Pens & Pencils

Going green has not only become a hip trend, it is a way of life for many. Regardless of the politics, today I am focusing on environmentally conscious options relating to paper and notebooks. I sorta feel this is an underserved topic/community. With the gift buying frenzy upon us, I thought it is appropriate to mention the options. Never know who may be looking for unique or special eco-friendly gifts.

Disclaimer: For transparency, I have no relationships with any of the vendors listed nor have I tried their products. I was interested in the topic and found their products or websites interesting to me. I have no idea if any of the paper, stationery, or notebooks are fountain pen friendly. Also, I am relying on others so if the statistics are wrong or unagreeable, sorry I’m restating the claims of others – don’t shoot the messenger. Sounds like a potential future blog topic.

Eco-friendly stationery is way more than just notebooks and paper stock made of recycled newspapers. Going green now includes sustainable stationery, zero-waste (fully recyclable), eco-friendly pens and pencils, ethical stationery made from ethically produced materials like sustainably managed timber. So much for buying notebooks or paper stock based on paper weight (gsm), lined vs dot vs grid print, hard vs soft covers and pretty artwork.

Fun fact: traditional pens are not recyclable because they contain an assortment of metals, plastics, and chemicals so they can’t be recycled. Well, unfortunately neither can eco-friendly pens. Annually, 1.6 billion pen make it to the landfills, so next time someone smugly asks “why do you write with a FOUNTAIN PEN?” Now you have THE answer for them – “Fountain pens are a lifetime investment and won’t be joining their 1.6 billion cousins any time soon.”

I never knew! – Click each picture for purchase information

Eco-friendly pens and pencils: available in a variety of materials often tree-free and biodegradable, no polymers toxic-free. Often made of recycled paper, bamboo or other organics. Eco-Fountain pens like the Zenzoi (made from bamboo) while others are sustainably harvested wood from 70% certified PEFC forests.

Recycled paper pencils have no splinters, sharpen easily and come in cool colors, plus their erasers are latex-free and PVC-free. I even found an eco-friendly pencil called Sprouts, instead of recycling it stick the stub into a pot of soil and watch it grow into a plant. Available on Amazon.

Relying heavily on the American stationary blog post (included in the reference material) on this topic let’s walk through what eco-friendly stationery options are available.

Recycled paper: much like it sounds, recycled paper from 10% to 100% recycled materials. Using recycled stationery means less wasted energy, water usage, and landfill space.

Renewable energy paper: is paper manufactured from wind power and other renewable energy sources. This reduces air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants released into the atmosphere.

Chlorine-free paper: White paper is often made with chlorine as the primary bleaching agent, this paper is made from only environmentally friendly bleaching processes.

Sustainable Forestry Initiative certified papers: this paper is made solely from practicing sustainable forestry and land management. This is a direct response to the issues that face North American forests.

Tree-free paper: this paper is made completely free of trees. Instead of chopping down trees, other sources of fiber are found like cotton fiber and other non-wood fiber materials. This saves trees and prevents the demolition of forests.

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