blog Image for World Water Day – 22 March 2021

World Water Day – 22 March 2021

Reading time: 1 minute 41 seconds

World Water Day is a global event hosted by the United Nations on the 22nd March every year. It is a day to call attention to the importance of fresh, clean water and highlight the reality that almost a quarter of the world’s population do not have access to this. World Water Day is the celebration of water and its benefits to our lives.

Did you know?

Sustainable usage and management of water is of global concern as it is said that by 2050, half the population will be living in water-stressed regions, including the UK. 

With plastic pollution being a hot topic currently, the impact of our decisions such as our lack of recycling, lack of eco choices and our demand for single-use plastics is having effects closer to home than you may believe. In 2018, Manchester University found the River Tame in England to have the world’s level of microplastic pollution ever recorded at that time, globally. If this isn’t shocking enough, microplastics have been found in Antarctica.

With lack of suitable infrastructure in third world countries, their waterways often become a place of waste disposal as it is quick and economical. The impact of this leaves rivers and beaches contaminated with rubbish, chemicals and sewage, making it harmful for both the human population and wildlife.

Water Goals

Providing water and sanitation to all by 2030 is one the United Nations sustainable development goals, so what can we do to help?

What can we do to help?

  • Turning the tap off when you brush your teeth
  • Buying a sand timer to limit your showers (1 minute = 17 litres)
  • Not buying as many jeans (1,000 gallons of water is used to make just a single pair)
  • Using the dishwasher only when it’s full
  • Use a watering can to water the plants, not a hose
  • Cutting down on your meat and dairy consumption
  • Making eco-friendly swaps. Promoting your business via our range of Eco-Friendly Writing Instruments will convey a positive message to your clients
  • Using reusable drinkware, such as our high-quality Mood® Vacuum Bottle
Writing instruments manufactured from sustainable bamboo

Resources 

World Water Day 2021 highlights dire predictions of growing scarcity | CBC News

World Water Day 2021 | 22 MARCH WORLD WATER DAY

blog Image for Mood® Motivation Month – Pens & Writing

Mood® Motivation Month – Pens & Writing

When was the last time you put pen to paper and stepped away from the glare of a computer screen. Are you someone that writes every day or maybe not at all? You may be surprised to know that there are numerous benefits of writing from a checklist of to-do’s for the day, goals or even writes down your feelings – they all act as an aid in support of productivity and mindfulness. “Someone who writes clearly often tends to think clear.” 1. 

The Evolution of the Pen

Writing instruments were created by the needs of civilisation in order to be able to create, share and learn through writing and imagery. Pens in particular, allow us to easily retain information and also enable us to communicate knowledge easily. Think about it, if you couldn’t talk for some reason the next option would be to write. For some, it is their favourite way to communicate. 

So who invented the Pen?

On record the oldest papyrus which features writing, dates back to 2000 BC, which leads us to the conclusion that it was the Ancient Egyptians who first invented a tool for this.

History of the Pen

Pens are that great we build our business and our name, The Pen Warehouse, around them.

We have the widest selection of promotional writing instruments in Europe and is the leading supplier in the UK and Ireland. Our range includes ballpens, rollerballs, fountain pens, gel pens, wooden pencils, mechanical pencils, crayons, colouring pencils, rulers, erasers, pencil sharpeners and pencil cases. Our pens can be printed, engraved, etc., etc.

The Uses/Benefits of a Pen – some of the key benefits of writing:

Free you from stress

You are able to put your thoughts on paper and rationalise them rather than going over them in your head giving you a true sense of reality.

Allows clarity

When writing you look for words which help you to describe things with more clarity. You are able to express yourself better and gain structure and order. 

Enables productivity

For example, writing a task list, you are able to see it visually in front of you and are able to re-order, prioritise and see the tasks you have ahead making it easier to move forward.

Retain information

This helps to engrain things in the mind which otherwise can be soon or easily forgotten.

Tell a story

You are able to devise your own stories, you don’t even have to share this; it could be for personal enjoyment only.

Storing memories

Writing them down and putting them in that safe place which will always be a constant reminder of something that is close to your heart.

How does a Pen help your Mental Wellbeing

The mind is able to slow down and calm. When physically writing your mind is able to process your own feelings and emotions. Writing allows those inner thoughts to come to the surface and allows you to bring clarity and perhaps light on a situation that has been on your mind for sometime. 

Have you ever felt like you have brain fog and thoughts in your mind that you continuously go over and over. Not great for concentration is it, putting pen to paper allows you to prepare for making that decision you have been putting off. The things that were cluttering the mind will now allow you to gain a sense of insight and clarity. You are then able to recognise the importance of these thoughts and feelings.

I’m sure everyone has woken up at some point during the night and gone down stairs and written out what’s been keeping them up or playing on their mind. This tends to help free you from your own thoughts and feelings and allows you to process them sensibly.

There is a sense of fulfilment that can be achieved through writing. A personal development plan, the beginning of your business plan or your latest appraisal. This allows you to see the personal journey you have been on and see how far you have come.

Cannot see the wood through the trees? I think it’s safe to say that one should never underestimate the power of the Pen and writing things down.

Manifestation or the law of attraction ever heard of it or believe in it? Even if you do not, if you were to take all the things you want to achieve, note them down, review them every day.  The likelihood of them happening is higher than if you didn’t because you would be actively thinking about them and that manifestation all started with a pen! If we still haven’t convinced you Oprah and Drake do it, maybe they will!

Mood® Motivation Challenge – Remember words have power! 

Over the course of the next month each week spend no longer than 15-20 minutes writing down positive memories. By participating in this activity it will allow you to focus away from negative thoughts and allows you to focus on the good. 

Or

Write about the not so positive and alleviate that brain fog!

  • Something that you worry about
  • Is there something that keeps you awake at night?
  • Get that thing down that you have been avoiding 

Then for each of these items write in a column, what part of them you can control and then what you cannot control. Review what you can and get to work!

References

  1. https://facilethings.com/blog/en/benefits-of-writing 
https://ideapod.com/6-surprising-benefits-writing-thoughts-feelings/#:~:text=It’s%20like%20magic.,complete%20light%20to%20the%20situation.
https://www.thejournalshop.com/thejournal/history-of-pens/
https://facilethings.com/blog/en/benefits-of-writing
blog Image for Mood® Motivation Month – Water Bottles

Mood® Motivation Month – Water Bottles

We are now in full swing with Mood® Motivation Month and hope you have enjoyed our content so far. Having shared the positives of writing and affirmations on the mind, we now look to explore another area of wellbeing that can often get overlooked, hydration.  

So then… are you a water baby?

No, we don’t mean are you the first one running towards the open sea on holiday or unpacking your lilo before the suncream. We are referring to whether or not you make hydration a priority. If you Google health benefits of water, the list is endless. Some of the most popular reasons for keeping an optimum hydration level are: 

  • Improved concentration
  • Organ preservation 
  • Reduction in joint pain
  • Clearer skin
  • Better mood 

Study after study all point to the same benefit that water is more than good for you, it is great. After all, 60% of our body is made up of water. With the heart and brain made up of a staggering 73% water. 

Ok you get it, drink more water! 

Drinkware and Promotional Products 

On reflection, Blue Planet was a moment of change for many people. It raised questions regarding the impact of single-use plastics on our environment and what that will mean for our future. This has unlocked a more conscious way of living, with the need to reuse at its heart.  

This shift in how we choose to live has changed consumers’ buying behaviours with an increased interest in promotional drinkware, in particular bottles. Sourcing City reported in its latest Industry Report (published February 2020) that the Sports Bottles category has jumped from fifth to third, with a market value revenue increase of nearly £10m in 2019 and plastic giveaways dropping from 3rd to 5th place. This illustrates a move away from single-use promotional items.  

The Mood® Collection’s water bottle has been a firm favourite in the industry since its release, with branding options including full colour dye sublimation, spot colour printing up to two colours and long-lasting laser engraving. Choose between three finishes – gloss white, powder coated or classic stainless steel. The Mood® Vacuum Bottle is made from food-grade double walled stainless steel and holds 500ml of water or your favourite drink. It’ll keep your cold drinks ice-cool for 24 hours, and your hot drinks piping hot for 12 hours. With individuality and self-expression being core values of the Mood® brand, our water bottle is available in 11 different colours and endless branding potential.

Mood® Motivation Challenge 

So now it’s over to you. We have explained some of the key benefits for keeping hydrated, so let’s put those benefits to action.

  • First thing first, dig out your water bottle;
  • Take a selfie (stick with us here…) first thing in the morning once you have decided to take on the challenge;
  • Add a reminder on your phone or smart watch every few hours to drink (if you are competitive, why not set a goal?);
  • Add having a glass of water to one of the routine parts of your day. For instance loading the dishwasher, pour a glass before your start. The aim is to finish the water by the time the dishwasher is loaded;
  • Take a glass of water to bed, maybe do not drink it before you sleep (unless you want to be woken in the middle of the night), but have it ready to drink when you wake up;
  • If you want to take it one step further, create a habit tracker! You can find loads on Pinterest here.
  • Take a selfie every week and compare your month’s progress. You will be impressed by what you see.  

Bottled or Tap Water?

And finally, help us settle a debate internally…

Not all water tastes the same right?! So send us your reasons for why your type of water tastes best and the most creative explanation will win a personalised Mood® bottle. We have an Evian vs tap water tug of war going on internally… which one is it for you?

Let us know by contacting marketing@pens.co.uk by 31.03.21.

blog Image for Mood® Motivation Month – Notebooks

Mood® Motivation Month – Notebooks

How many notebooks do you have? Empty notebooks, half empty notebooks, notebooks with pages ripped out. The excitement of heading to the shops to buy a set of new shiny stationery still fills us with joy, the promise that we will fill the pages until they are bursting with stories, doodles and more but how many times have you not wanted to ruin that first page in your perfectly pristine notebook – you are not alone!

The Invention of the Notebook

In 1888 according to a legend, Thomas W. Holley of Massachusetts invented the legal pad when he innovated the idea to collect all sorts of paper scraps from various factories and stitch them together. In 1900, the latter evolved to be the modern traditional yellow legal pad, and the rest is history!

Mood® Notebook 

In 2019 The Pen Warehouse and Snap Products introduced the Mood® Notebook into our collection, offering effortless style and professionalism on-the-go. The Mood® Notebook offers a luxurious soft-feel PU cover in 23 striking colours, 160 pages of sustainable FSC® certified lined paper, a sturdy back pocket for loose papers, an elastic closure and a convenient bookmark ribbon so you don’t lose your place. The Mood® Notebook is more than just a notebook, it’s a celebration of individuality and self-expression, the perfect addition to your stationery collection.

Mindfulness Writing 

Mindfulness can strengthen your creativity and in turn creativity can strengthen the practice of mindfulness. Mindful writing stimulates our ongoing awareness and allows us to communicate our inner and outer experiences with ourselves and others. Daily writing can help us get in touch with our values and understand what is important to us. Getting into a routine of writing down your daily observations and thoughts can help you become more present in the moment and your daily life. 

‘Paper is to write things down that we need to remember. Our brains are used to think.’ – Albert Einstein.

There are four types of learners and ways people learn that all include some form of reading or writing. 

Visual – strong preference for seeing information and writing things down

Auditory – learn better when information is heard or read out to them

Read/Write – retain information better when displayed as words

Kinesthetic/Tactile – need motion to learn and enjoy activities that allow them to touch

What type of learner are you?

How to Use Your Notebook

Opening a blank notebook can be daunting, that first mark on a clean page… but fear not! We have prepared a list of ways to use your notebook;

  1. Journaling
  2. Bullet Lists
  3. Recipes
  4. Doodling
  5. Memories
  6. Poems
  7. Scrapbook
  8. Ambitions
  9. Goal Setting
  10. Languages

Mood® Motivation Challenge

Remember us asking how many notebooks you have lying around? Well now is the time to use them. Your challenge this week is to pick up an old pad or use one of our Mood® Notebooks and write a line each day. What can you add? Why not start with one of the following;

  1. Something you are grateful for
  2. Things you have learnt
  3. Something new that you tried
  4. A doodle to describe part of your day
  5. Positive things that have happened
  6. A helpful to-do list for the day ahead

Share your #MoodMoment with friends on social media and see if they will join you on this challenge!

The Facts

  • Neuropsychologists have identified the “generation effect” which basically says individuals demonstrate better memory for material they’ve generated themselves than for material they’ve merely read.
  • Writing by hand forces your brain to process information in a more detailed way, which helps you successfully load that information into your memory.
  • Having a written list of things you want to accomplish makes them feel more real, and prioritises them in your brain.

Research and References

https://www.forbes.com/sites/markmurphy/2018/04/15/neuroscience-explains-why-you-need-to-write-down-your-goals-if-you-actually-want-to-achieve-them/?sh=5362753b7905

https://www.lifesavvy.com/19204/why-you-remember-things-better-when-you-write-them-down/#:~:text=If%20you%20write%20something%20by,that%20information%20into%20your%20memory

blog Image for Welcome to Mood® Motivation Month

Welcome to Mood® Motivation Month

It feels challenging for most at present and with a product launch on the horizon born out of mindfulness, we thought what better way to collaborate with our customers than through a month of motivation!

So here goes…

Mood® Motivation Cards

To celebrate the launch of our Mood® Motivation Cards, we have introduced Mood® Motivation Month for the month of February, sharing inspiring, uplifting, positively challenging and informative content on a weekly basis

Launch Video

Our launch video features our employees, who when we handed them the pack had never seen the Mood® Motivation Cards before. We gave them one card and asked them to say the first word that came to their mind, when they read it. Their reactions are real and that’s the bit we wanted to capture, because that is the impact of these cards. It’s a moment of realisation or love or strength. It is a moment of feeling something good or we hope, great!

The Journey

The Mood® Motivation Cards concept and end product was developed over a period of 4 months. The Coronavirus pandemic and its impact on mental health and wellbeing led the team here into thinking of ways to spread positivity and challenge negative thinking. After much research (Pinterest), brainstorming (Zooms galore and random sketches) and planning (Excel, Hangouts, Slides) a library of motivational messages was curated. The Mood® brand has always promoted individuality and self-expression, so our Motivational Cards were the perfect addition to the collection. This range has been designed to be a powerful promotional tool designed to encourage mindfulness, represent company values and show kindness.

Materials

Quality, sustainability and professional print finishing are core factors to us. Each card and packaging is UK-manufactured in our Hampshire-based factory from FSC® certified paper, ensuring responsible material sourcing.

Choose from a standard gloss finish or opt for matt lamination for a tactile, soft-feel finish.

There is no excess packaging with these cards. The full colour printed wallet is used to store the card deck for the lifetime of the product.

The Power of Mindfulness 

Where do you start? A daily routine of positive affirmations is a great way to begin your day and this is where Mood® Motivation Cards are an essential part of your mindfulness tool kit. Read through each message in the deck and pick out the ones that really resonate with you, that echo your values and feelings in this moment in time or if you like surprises, pick one at random, commit to it. Carry it with you throughout the day and in moments of stillness be that card.

Each message is an important reminder you are winning, so keeping your favourite card in your purse or wallet, or having it pinned at your desk may be a good idea – it will remind you that you can achieve what you believe. Repetition and daily practice are important factors for positivity, self-confidence and motivation to blossom.

Weekly Challenge

So now over to you… Choose one our Mood® Motivation Messages that resonates with you or is relevant to your beliefs and goals. Repeat this message to yourself when you wake up, when you look in the mirror and regularly throughout the day. If you are really committed, put a check-in in your diary 3 times a day.

Or, share a #MoodMoment with a colleague, customer, friend or family member. Show support, appreciation and kindness. A small gesture can go a long way.

You can download our GIFs and social media assets here that you can share on WhatsApp or over social media. Why not share one with a friend?

Share a #MoodMoment

How to choose your Mood® Motivation card deck:

  1. Size
    • Boxed pack of 10 cards
    • Boxed pack of 20 cards
  2. Style
    • Corporate (based on Mood® colours that match your company branding)
    • Colourful
    • Bespoke (your own messages or company values)
  3. Personalise
    • Add your logo or marketing message to the front of the card and outer box 
    • Add individual personalisation
  4. Finish
    • Standard gloss
    • Matt lamination
  5. Delivery
    • One delivery address
    • Fulfilment to multiple addresses

Branding is available on the outer box and top-side of cards only. Individual personalisation is available for an extra charge.

Research and References

https://positivepsychology.com/daily-affirmations/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/your-wise-brain/201010/confronting-the-negativity-bias

https://www.inc.com/nate-klemp/try-this-neuroscience-based-technique-to-shift-your-mindset-from-negative-to-positive-in-30-seconds.html

blog Image for Refillogy: A Revolution in Renewability

Refillogy: A Revolution in Renewability

One of the many things we’ve learnt on our journey to reducing the environmental impact of our practices and products is that, when it comes to sustainability, it’s always better to reuse than to recycle.   

This is because recycling is an energy-consuming procedure which requires existing materials to undergo a process in order to become raw materials. Reuse, however, provides a sustainable alternative which lessens demand on our natural resources while reducing various forms of pollution. 

Refillogy.com

This led us to develop Refillogy.com: a comprehensive solution to disposable commodity items which ensures safety and transparency for the end user. When it comes to writing instruments, the best form of sustainability is to achieve multiple uses from the same pen, and for this a refill replacement service is an absolute necessity and something we’re happy to facilitate via our new domain.

Our long-life refills offer a sustainable solution to your writing needs by transforming a traditionally single-use item into one that can be reused time and time again. Our refills last much longer and need to be replaced less frequently than their supposedly ‘jumbo-sized’ alternatives, because many jumbo refills are in fact not filled all the way to the top with ink. In what might be considered a closely guarded secret of the industry, most jumbo refills only contain ink in the capillary section rather than the chamber itself. The weight of pens with jumbo refills actually comes from the plastic components within the pen – not from the ink. Believe it or not, there is usually far more ink in a thinner refill than a jumbo refill, with most jumbos only providing around 500 metres of writing length versus the 800-1500 metres provided by standard refills and upto 3,000 metres provided by metal Parker refills! 

We’re proud to offer long-life refills that are both true to their name and thoroughly tested in-house to ensure we’re providing the best quality product possible. What’s more, our refills are filled with high-quality German Dokumental® ink for a smooth, even writing experience which outlasts other available refill options. Because the ink in our refill selection is indelible to ISO12757-1+2, it will last an incredibly long time when applied to the page and will not fade or perish over time.

To use the Refillogy online refill service, simply visit www.refillogy.com and enter the serial number printed on the side of the refill into the search bar on the homepage. You will then be presented with the correct refill(s) for your particular pen, which you can then select to order. 

Writing Instrument Recycling Program: Creating More Ways to Recycle

We’ve also partnered up with the Writing Instrument Recycling Program: a nationwide scheme in which waste pens, pencils and various stationery items can be recycled completely free of charge at various drop-off locations across the country.

The scheme also offers TerraCycle reward points for all recycled waste over 15kg, which can be redeemed with any school, charity or non-profit organisation of the location supervisor’s choice. One TerraCycle Point is worth £0.01.

The Writing Instrument Recycling Program accepts any brand of pen, highlighter and marker pen, as well as all forms of correction fluid or tape. Currently not accepted are glue sticks, erasers, rulers and other cutting objects, as these may contaminate the recycling process.

To find your nearest public drop-off location, please visit
http://pens.uk/Jnl1ob.

Tree Nation Planting Initiative

We’ve also teamed up with Tree Nation to introduce a tree planting initiative when purchasing selected products, including metal pens such as the Mood® Collection Ballpen.

Whenever you notice the tree symbol throughout our product range, a percentage of sales from the order of that product will be donated to planting trees across the globe. This helps to effectively offset CO₂ emissions while preserving the environment and enhancing biodiversity. With over 300 species of plants, the work of Tree Nation actively tackles deforestation, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and improves air quality for a cleaner, greener future.

Tree Planting Initiative

Find out more about the work of Tree Nation here.

In Summary

We consider Refillogy to be something of a ‘full circle moment’ when we look back at our sustainability journey so far. Although we’re by no means finished examining our processes and business practices in the pursuit of reducing our environmental impact as much as possible, our study of sustainability has allowed us to offer a service that tackles a key issue while offering a safe and practical solution.  

Refillogy helps us and our customers implement a system of circular economy, eliminating waste and the continual use of our natural resources. The service also brings awareness to the idea of conscious buying and makes us think more carefully about purchasing products for long term (or even better – life-long) use, rather than opting for products which are designed to be disposed of after a brief lifespan.

We’ve got a long journey ahead of us and so many more topics to tackle and processes to redefine, but Refillogy gives us an anchor from which to offer our customers sustainable options, raise awareness and encourage conscious buying. 

Join the refill revolution, and let Refillogy help you achieve real sustainability through the power of reuse. 

Download a condensed version of this blog post for use in your own marketing collateral here.

blog Image for Environment Bill Update

Environment Bill Update

Back in October 2019, EcoSense reported on the proposed Environment Bill and what it means for businesses in the promotional merchandise sector going forward.

The bill, which seeks to protect our country’s natural landscapes and overcome the most crucial environmental issues of our time, was presented for first reading in the House of Commons and must proceed through several further readings before it can be ratified into law.

During the first reading, the targets of the bill were outlined via plans and policies to improve waste and resource efficiency, air quality and biodiversity, along with conservation efforts and the regulation of chemicals. The bill will also ensure that any products which fail to meet environmental standards are subject to immediate recall. 

Today, 26 February 2020, marks the Second Reading of the Environment Bill at the House of Commons, giving MPs the opportunity to debate the key principles and purposes of the bill. When the debate concludes, it will be decided whether or not the bill will be allowed to proceed onto the committee stage, where each aspect of the bill will be debated in detail and any proposals for change can be offered for consideration.

Because we are committed to the constant review of our business operations and product offering, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the development of the Environment Bill and providing regular updates on any progression as it passes through the various stages towards ratification. Businesses should be aware that they may need to implement changes once the bill comes into effect, and we will provide information on how we will  align practices and products to make sure these laws are being followed.

Our Changes 

There are key areas that the Environment Bill looks to cover and we have detailed below a few examples of the changes we’ve made in those areas so far to reduce our carbon footprint and waste output within the supply chain. Why not see if there is anything we’re doing that you can use in your own business practices? We’re definitely not experts in sustainability, but we’re figuring it out along the way as part of our journey and we want you all to be involved in the process. Once the Environment Bill is in place, it will apply to all members of the public and professional sectors, so it’s best to start giving it some thought now so you’re prepared for any changes that need to be made ahead of time.

 

Reduce Waste 

  • All individual bins in our head office and warehouse spaces have been replaced with communal bins with separate compartments for paper, plastic and general waste so that each material can be sorted ready for recycling.  
  • We reuse our goods-in boxes to package outgoing stock and any cardboard that cannot be reused is shredded and used as padding. This not only cuts back on the waste we create, but also reduces the need to recycle and saves energy.
  • All paper towels in our staff toilets have been replaced with energy efficient dual airblade dryers to cut down on energy consumption and waste. 
  • We donate any stock that does not meet our quality control standards to local schools or charities to ensure the products are put to good use and kept out of landfill. We recently had a charity sale and raised over £200 from stock no longer being used. 

Improve Resource Efficiency 

  • By researching alternative product materials, we’ve been able to expand our collection to include environmentally friendly alternatives to plastic like wheat straw, wood, bamboo and recycled plastic and paper.  This reduces the strain on the natural resources needed to make traditional product materials and instead lets us utilise sustainable resources that are more easily renewable. 
  • We’ve switched from plastic to biodegradable paper packaging for all of our samples in an effort to cut down on single use plastics. We’ve also requested that all suppliers from the Far East use this tape on their packaging.  This is another step toward ongoing improvements to sustainable business practices and the company is keen to harness the many advantages of paper products to send an unambiguous message to the consumer. 
  • LED lighting is used throughout our premises, with sensory lighting in place for areas that are not used frequently.  
Sustainable features in our new HQ


Biodiversity 

  • Our Research and Development department has been busy testing the environmental claims of ‘green’ products such as bioplastics, which many manufacturers claim to be compostable in domestic facilities. Some even say you can place end of life bioplastics directly into the ground to biodegrade. Such bold statements of course need thorough investigation, as it would be irresponsible to discard of anything without knowing the possible implications of doing so. Read more about the environmental impact of bioplastics here
  • The past few installments of EcoSense have focused on the environmental end of life impact of promotional products and have offered tips on how to reduce this impact through conscious buying and proper disposal methods. 
  • Switching from plastics across our packaging means we also contribute less to plastic that ends up in the environment, having a detrimental effect on wildlife.

Regulation of Chemicals 

  • Across our site, we’re investing in new ways to reduce our use of chemicals. This includes the use of new solventless technology and the use of alternative, eco-friendly options wherever we can.
  • All the chemicals we use in-house are from REACH compliant suppliers. REACH is legislation which is aimed at protecting both the environment and human health through the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals. As part of this, it is essential to produce risk assessments and safety data sheets for chemicals, so users like us know exactly what to do to protect both our employees and the environment, from preventative measures to emergency actions. REACH guidelines and restrictions are regularly updated too, which means we always have to ensure we’re on the ball when it comes to knowing what we need to do! This includes making sure all our chemicals are still safe and free of restricted chemicals. We’re making sure that this information is available to everyone in-house with informational posters across the site! REACH will be an area that the Environment Bill covers in detail.
  • We recycle many of the solvents we do use in-house, making sure that we consume less as a company! 
  • Chemicals are stored separately from the main production area in specialised containers to prevent accidental spillage or contamination of the environment.
  • Our water output is regularly tested to ensure that nothing is entering the water stream that shouldn’t be, protecting both people and the environment.

Air Quality 

  • Our field sales representatives are provided with the latest technology to ensure their vehicles are as environmentally friendly as possible.
  • Having everyone together in our new HQ means that there’s less vehicle trips to and from our different sites! 
  • Air conditioners throughout our sites are set to specific times, ensuring they’re not wasting energy.
  • Air inside the factory is regularly tested to make sure our staff also experience the right air quality.

Summary 

Sustainability is a team effort and achieving it in a long lasting, meaningful way is far easier without having to navigate baffling technical jargon or legislation which you’re not even sure even applies to you or your business! That’s why we want to make it a bit easier and more digestible by sifting through the noise and delivering the facts. After all, if you can understand it, you can attain it, and as the Environment Bill states, we’re all going to need to work together to reach the goals that preserve our future. Be sure to check in with EcoSense over the next few months as we track the progress of the Environment Bill and offer simple advice on how to protect and enhance our environment and precious natural resources in accordance with the bill.

You can read more about the Environment Bill here:

Environment Bill 2019 – 2021

Government Introduces Ground-Breaking Environment Bill

What’s The Government’s New Environment Bill?

The Environment Bill

Environment Bill Moves Forward

blog Image for The Pen for Life™: Sustainability Rewritten

The Pen for Life™: Sustainability Rewritten

Regardless of your particular stance on sustainability, the bottom line is that it’s in all of our long-term interests to cut down on non-recyclable waste and preserve our natural resources. 

This is especially pressing when we consider the tens of millions of plastic pens sold globally every day. In America, for example, there is a staggering 1.6 billion disposable pens discarded yearly (1) – which is a huge amount of plastic and metal components simply thrown into landfill.

The primary non-recyclable component of a pen is the ink refill or cartridge, which unfortunately has to go to landfill because the residual ink could contaminate an entire batch of recycled plastic. Despite the issue of sustainability forcing us to direct our attention to the future, the answer to this problem may actually be found by casting our gaze to the past…

Looking To The Past To Benefit The Future 

Long before the invention of the ballpoint pen came the fountain pen, but not as we know it today!  Early fountain pens worked in a similar fashion to a syringe, drawing ink from a bottle up into the pen itself with the use of a device commonly called a ‘converter’.

What makes the traditional refillable fountain pen the perfect environmentally friendly pen? Well, apart from requiring the odd top up with fresh ink, nothing else is used or disposed of. There are no empty cartridges to throw away, minimal mess and no risk of ink contamination as the cartridges are self-contained. 

While the sustainability factor of a refillable fountain pen was never a motivation amongst the original models of the past, it is now a very welcome benefit when considering the preservation of the future. 

The Pen for Life™ is a delicate balance of design ingenuity and practicality, with hand-engraved accents to the barrel and plain upper parts for unrestricted branding or personalisation. Manufactured from brass and triple chromium plated (one of the most sustainable materials out there -read our blog on metals here), the Pen for Life™ promises superior, long-lasting performance that endures the test of time.

Refilling the Pen for Life™


To refill the Pen for Life™ , simply use the included converter to pull ink from a bottle up into the chamber within the converter. Bottled inks come in a wider range of types and colours than cartridge inks, giving you greater opportunity to tailor your writing experience to your exact preferences.

Pen for Life™ : Care & Maintenance Tips

Just like a nice watch, a fountain pen is an investment which is built to last a lifetime. But, in order to get the best performance and ensure the product lasts as long as it should, a certain level of care and maintenance is required. When you take your watch in for a service, you can expect the product to be disassembled, cleaned, oiled and polished to make sure it’s operating to the best of its ability. The same applies to the fountain pen – it needs minimal but fairly regular maintenance to deliver the best performance and, perhaps most importantly, last as long as it should.

Follow the tips and tricks below to give your fountain pen the love it deserves and it will repay the favour with a lifetime of use!

1.   About once a month, remove the cap of your fountain pen and flush the cartridge and nib under running water. Repeat two or three times to remove any accumulation of solid ink.

2.   For converter fountain pens, fill a glass with water and insert the end of the converter into the water. Then, pull water up through the converter a few times until the water runs clear.

3.   Use a cloth to thoroughly dry the components of the pen, paying particular attention to the nib and any metal parts.

💡 Did you know…

If you regularly switch between different ink types and colours, be aware that these inks can interact with each other and cause excess build-up. Therefore, you might need to clean your pen a bit more than normal!

You should avoid storing your fountain pen for long periods of time with ink in the cartridge / converter, as this can cause the ink to solidify and compromises the performance of the pen.

You can take your fountain pen to a professional for nib and feed adjustments! This ensures long life and consistent performance while avoiding the need to throw the pen away if it becomes damaged in any way. A quick Google search should show fountain pen repair services near you, but we recommend a service like Pen Home: Vintage and Modern Pen Specialists who have been repairing vintage and modern pens for the past 25 years and are recommended by industry leaders such as Parker, Waterman and Sheaffer UK. Learn more at https://www.penhome.co.uk/pages/pen-repairs

Make Your Own Eco-Friendly Inks! 

While the Pen for Life™ is indeed a sustainable solution to your writing needs, its eco credentials can be enhanced further still with the use of an all-natural ink.

You can purchase natural ink bottles from a number of reputable suppliers, but why not make things a little more fun by creating your own at home? Once you’ve perfected your technique, you’ll never need to spend money on costly inks or unnecessary packaging again! Store your homemade inks in a glass bottle or container and make a new batch when you start to run out, filling up the glass bottle each time to create as little waste as possible. 

Here’s a couple of ideas to get you started:

You will need…

½ cup of dried walnut hulls

½  teaspoon Arabic Gum  

1 x cup water

Simply boil the walnut hulls in water for 30 minutes. Then, strain the hulls, add the Arabic Gum and whisk thoroughly. Once cooled, pour into a bottle with a lid and ensure the lid is tightly closed.

You will need…

2 x avocado stones – the bigger the better!

1 x teaspoon sodium carbonate

½ teaspoon Arabic Gum

1 x cup water

Chop both avocado stones and simmer in water and sodium carbonate for 20 minutes. Drain the water and stir in the Arabic Gum until combined. Once cooled, pour into a bottle with a lid and ensure the lid is tightly closed.

Need more proof that fountain pens are fascinating…? Check out this great video by National Geographic to learn how expert Richard Binder keeps fountain pens in pristine condition with his unbelievable craftsmanship and mind-blowing knowledge!

In Summary

With care and correct maintenance, a fountain pen can last a lifetime without having to discard or replace any of the components. As we have discussed, even the ink can be sustainable with the use of a refillable / recyclable glass bottle and, when making your own ink or using an eco-friendly inks, you don’t need to worry about causing damage to the natural environment when disposing of it. That’s not to say we recommend pouring unused inks down the drain, however! It’s far better to sell or give the inks away to someone who can make use of them, such as members of a fountain pen group like www.fountainpennetwork.com.

The long-life design of the Pen for Life™ should serve as a source of inspiration for general consumerism moving forward. Its quality of craftsmanship, durable materials and sustainable operation prompts us to be conscious about our buying habits and to reject disposable product options which subscribe to the throw-away society we have created. No longer should we be content to consume and dispose: now, we must think carefully about the quality and longevity of what we spend our money on to reduce the end-of life environmental impact that we have been considering in previous editions of EcoSense. 

This, combined with a responsibility from manufacturers to provide sustainable products and care guides for ensuring optimum performance and lifespan, should help us effectively move away from disposable products and the environmental impact they bring with them. 

Extra Reading 

Learn more about fountain pens as a sustainable product option by clicking the links below! 

Why Fountain Pens Are Back

How Do You Dispose of Bottles of Ink?

Pen Maintenance

If You Haven’t Started Using Fountain Pens …

Zero Waste: Introduction to Fountain Pens

References

(1) http://www.wehatetowaste.com/disposable-pen/

blog Image for Metal Pens: An Accessible Recycling Option

Metal Pens: An Accessible Recycling Option

In last week’s EcoSense, we continued to look at the end of life environmental impact of promotional products by delving into the ambiguous world of bioplastics. Today, we will shift our focus to a hugely popular material in the world of promotional pens and one that makes up a large percentage of our product offering: metal! 

We stock a wide variety of metal pens and pens with metal accents, so we feel it’s important to educate our customers on how best to recycle these products in order to create as little environmental impact as possible. 

First off, it’s worth noting that metal has a far greater potential for recycling than other types of material like bioplastics which, as we discussed in our last article, requires very specific industrial-scale facilities to effectively break down the material. 

💡Did you know ….

Almost all types of metal can be recycled at your local facilities? This includes:  

• Copper

• Aluminium

• Steel

Brass

• Zinc

• Tin

Click here for full size image

Although metal left in landfill behaves as most materials, lingering for centuries, according to the British Metals Recycling Association a massive 10 million tonnes of metal was recycled in the UK in 2018. Metal recycling is well established across the globe, which tells us that metal pens are a more realistic recycling option for the end user than bioplastics.   

Here at The Pen Warehouse, we have a number of metal pens made from Brass (Giotto Metal Ballpen), Steel (Cheviot Steel Ballpen) and Aluminium (Electra Touch Ballpen). So, let’s take a closer look at these materials!

The aluminium found in pens such as our Electra Touch Ballpen is the most recycled material out there. Recycling a tonne of aluminium saves 9 tonnes of C02 emissions – that’s the equivalent of driving nearly 3,000 miles! (1).

Steel is another widely recycled material made from Iron and Carbon. It can be 100% recycled and most steel used today contains at least 25% recycled material (2). Kerbside collection of steel is becoming increasingly common across the UK due to the ease of which it can be recycled.

Our brass (Copper and Zinc) pens can also be recycled, including those with chromium (3) plating such as the System™ 055 Ballpen. Almost all brass on the UK market is made from recycled brass, as the processes involved are much cheaper and less energy intensive than producing virgin brass (4).

Metal pens also provide a long-life product option that can be used for years and years before needing to be replaced. This adheres to the ‘3Rs’ (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) and encourages us as consumers to think long-term when buying products.  If you’ve found your perfect metal pen and you’re not ready to give it up quite yet, there’s always the option of replacing the refill. This is an even more environmentally friendly option!

The Benefits Of Recycling Metal

It creates jobs: Recycling metal not only benefits the environment, but also has positive economic effects, too. Given that the UK is one of the top five metal exporters in the world, the act of recycling metals on such a large scale creates a huge number of jobs within the recycle and refuse industry. The number of jobs created will only increase as we discover new ways to recycle existing materials! 

It helps the economy: Recycling offers another plus for the economy when it comes to mining for new metals. Common metals such as aluminium and silver come from ore: a natural rock which contains the necessary minerals to create metal. Extracting ore is a costly exercise and one that depletes our natural resources, so recycling offers a far cheaper alternative which also contributes to a circular economy (more on this subject here)

It does not take up farming land: It’s also worth noting that, much like the argument for bioplastic crops taking up space which could be used for growing food crops, landfill sites could also be put to better use as housing sites – or indeed as sites for growing natural food crops.  

It uses less energy: Up to 95% less energy is consumed in the recycling process compared to metals manufactured from virgin materials, for example. According to EU reports, use of recycled metals reduces CO2 emissions by an astonishing 200 million tonnes per year, while the use of recycled steel cuts air pollution by 86% and water pollution by 76% (5). 

The How: Recycling Your End-of-Life Metal Pens 

To recycle your metal pens or metal components from plastic pens, follow this helpful guide:

1. Remove all metal components from your pen.

2. Components such as the spring and nib can be recycled in your normal kerbside recycling bin.

3. If the barrel of your pen is coated, this can be recycled by most recycling sites and by Terracycle. (Read our previous blog on the end of life environmental impact of pens here).

In Summary

As we continue our study into the end of life environmental impact of promotional products, it becomes more and more apparent that prevention really is better than cure. If we can create a system where we’re continuously recycling old materials in a cost and energy effective way, then we will not need to rely so heavily on the Earth’s rapidly draining natural resources. Metal therefore creates a great opportunity for us to achieve this, as recycling uses less energy, less water and reduces carbon emissions when compared to the use of raw materials.

Metal is also a great option for creating durable, long life products which last the customer for years after purchase. Even when metal does reach the end of its product life, it’s widely recycled at domestic facilities and, in the case of aluminium, can be recycled a limitless number of times without losing its integrity.  

As with all of the materials we’ve considered so far, the key to reducing environmental end of life impact is education. Make sure your customers are armed with the correct disposal/recycling information necessary so that end of life becomes more synonymous with the end of that particular cycle of life, rather than the end of the product’s life altogether.

Further Reading

To read more about recycling metals to reduce their end of life environmental impact, we recommend checking out these articles: 

Metal Recycling Guide

What is the Metals and Mining Sector?

What Metals Can Be Recycled?

References

(1)https://www.leeds.gov.uk/docs/Metal%20Matters%20factsheet.pdf

(2) https://www.recycle-more.co.uk/why-recycle-/why-recycle-steel-

(3)https://www.silverteam-recycling.com/en/Business-areas/Non-ferrous-metals/Non-ferrous-metal-recycling

(4) http://www.skillmanmetal.com/chrome-plated-brass.html

(5)https://www.greenjobs.co.uk/british-metals-recycling-association.cms.asp


Please note: The EcoSense information series is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced or distributed without prior consent of The Pen Warehouse. To use EcoSense material for your own marketing, please contact marketing@pens.co.uk for permission.

blog Image for The End of Life Environmental Impact of Bioplastics

The End of Life Environmental Impact of Bioplastics

In the last installment of EcoSense, we looked at the end of life environmental impact of promotional pens, paying specific attention to plastic and bamboo. We examined how to properly recycle products made from these materials, and gave tips and tricks on ways to reuse plastic and bamboo pens to prolong their lifespan. Today, we’re moving on to bioplastics!

Whilst every step towards sustainability is indeed a positive one, some manufacturers claim the use of seemingly ‘green’ solutions which may not be quite as green as they seem… This can be seen with the increasing use of bioplastics: a plastic-like material fashioned from renewable biomass such as oils, vegetable fats, sawdust, recycled food waste and sometimes from used plastic bottles.

More and more industries are quick to utilise bioplastics in their own manufacturing processes, with the global bioplastic market projected to grow to almost $44 billion by 2022 (1). However, as with most new trends, we need to look to the future to confirm whether or not these new materials are in fact the real deal.

The green attributes…

The true “green” attributes of bioplastics mainly lay in their production, not necessarily in their entire life cycle.

  • Bioplastics manufacturing has a carbon footprint 75% lower than conventional plastics such as PET (plastic drinking bottles) and PS (fast food containers). In fact, substituting fossil-based polyethylene (PE) with bio-based PE would save more than 42 million tonnes of CO2 or 10 million plane flights around the world each year (2).
  • Bioplastics are generally made from plant raw materials such as corn starch instead of petroleum oil (a finite research) and are renewable.

And the not so green …

However, a study conducted by a group at the University of Pittsburgh found that, although bioplastics reduced the carbon footprint during production, they introduced greater amounts of other pollution such as pesticides and fertilisers into the environment (1).

Bioplastics also require extensive land use. In some cases, this land requirement results in deforestation (forest area still absorbs more CO2 than plants such as sugar and maize). A recorruring argument is that the land used for growing bioplastic crops could be put to better use growing food products (3).

When it comes to their end of life process, bioplastics are often championed for their biodegradable nature, with many manufacturers ensuring that products made from bioplastics are fully compostable. However, bioplastics require a specialised high-temperature compost environment in order to fully break down and will not biodegrade in commercial landfills or traditional compost bins. Many people simply do not have access to these facilities and may resort to disposing of their bioplastic waste in standard refuse or recycling points. Worse still, the misleading accolade of ‘fully compostable’ could lead people to discard bioplastic products such as pens directly into the environment, mistakenly believing that they will break down naturally.

Most bioplastics are disposed of in regular bins and will inevitably end up in landfills alongside the 6.3 billion metric tons of plastic waste we have accumulated globally since mass production of commercial plastics began – accounting for 79% of all landfill waste.  If bioplastic products are not disposed of in the correct manner and are placed in general plastic recycling facilities, their presence can contaminate any traditional plastics present and make those plastics unfit for recycling.


View full sized image here

Finding Other Uses for Your End-of-Life Bioplastic Products

Because bioplastics are not easily recycled, we recommend finding alternative uses for products that contain this material once they reach the end of their lifespan. Here’s a few fun and practical ideas to get the most use possible out of your bioplastic products!

Garden Markers – Poke your old, empty bioplastic pens directly into the ground to mark seedlings for a durable garden marker that will hold up in all weathers. As we know, there’s no risk of the pen decomposing in the ground!  

Plant Starter Sticks – Give your seedlings something to cling onto while they grow by removing the refill from your bioplastic pens and placing over the planted seed. Once growing starts, you can remove the pen to reveal strong and sturdy shoots!  

Fishing Lure – This is a great way to save money on costly fishing equipment! Simply empty the pen and add eyes and tail to mimic an insect. Then, watch as the fish jump on the line!  

Beads – Cut up old pens to make individual decorative beads. They can be painted and strung onto a piece of jewellery wire to create necklaces, bracelets and general craft items.  

Sprinkler Head – This is another great tip for our green-fingered readers. Pierce a plastic bottle and slot empty bioplastic pens into the holes, then attach a hose to the mouth of the bottle to distribute water around your garden.

In Summary

We’re all for seeking out new product innovations and eco-friendly materials in our quest to reduce our environmental impact. However, we also believe that, as manufacturers and consumers, we have a duty not to take everything we’re told on face value. When a new material enters the market claiming to boast a sustainable nature, we must conduct proper research to make sure those ‘green credentials’ check out.  

As we look in detail at the end of life impact of promotional products, it becomes more and more apparent that the key to establishing true sustainability lies with creating an effective circular economy (read more on this here) and by crafting products that are made to last.  

But how do we do this? 

With conscious product design, ethically sourced materials and regular assessments, we can create products that reject the throwaway culture of today and are instead built with longevity in mind. If and when a product does reach the end of its use, it’s important that the product can be recycled in the least energy-consuming way possible. Only then will we be able to use our natural resources in a continuous way without the worry of irreversibly depleting them.  

Extra Reading 

Interested in learning more about bioplastics and their end of life environmental impact? Here are some great articles which are perfect for brushing up on your knowledge!

What You Need to Know About Plant-Based Plastics

How Can the Environmental Impact of Bioplastics be Assessed?

Are Bioplastics Better for the Environment Than Conventional Plastics?

Bioplastics and Biodegradable Plastics

Bioplastic Recycling

References

  1. https://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2017/12/13/the-truth-about-bioplastics/ 
  2. https://www.european-bioplastics.org/faq-items/do-bioplastic-have-a-lower-carbon-footprint-than-fossil-based-plastics-how-is-this-measured/ 
  3. https://phys.org/news/2018-12-bioplastics-necessarily-contribute-climate-mitigation.html

Please note: The EcoSense information series is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced or distributed without prior consent of The Pen Warehouse. To use EcoSense material for your own marketing, please contact marketing@pens.co.uk for permission.