The last Sunday I sat down to clear some “junk” which had accumulated over the years; books, old clocks, plastic pen holders, rusted paper-clips and tacks and most importantly PENS. Lots of pens. Plastic pens, Steel jacketed pens, dried out pen-refills and some steel jotter refills. Most of these I had been using during my school and college days. I don’t have much use of a pen today but buying that odd Parker or Mont Blanc can not be resisted. I hope those who would be reading this article may find some resonance in this.
High Schools are the reasons why many a Pen company not only survive but have flourished over time. Its usually their “pert” line which earn them the revenue. The most popular pen are either the very cheap use and throw types or the ones which a girl/boyfriend gifts during valentine. They are usually made of metal and have steel”jotter”refills. Even in the plastic bodied pens the plastic refill “nib” is made of steel.
For example, The Parker Jotter is the Parker Pen Company‘s first and bestselling retracting refillable ballpoint pen. Later they added a fountain pen, mechanical pencil and rollerball pen that match its design. As with many other ballpoint pens, it can be turned into gel pen if its cartridge is changed. Since 1954, over 750 million have been sold worldwide.
A single company Parker has sold 750 million Jotter pens. Assuming all the parts are steel, some tiny parts are not, but is negligible in comparative weight. So if it were to be all stainless steel, what would be the weight in steel? Lets calculate –
1.6 ounces x 750000000 = 1200000000 ounces.
1 ounce = 28.3495231 grams. So the weight of 750 million pen = 34019427600 grams ie; 34019427.6 kg = 34019. 43 metric ton.
That is a lot of Steel. And any one who would care to read what steel production entails and the amount of GHG it produces would at least appreciate that part of the process be reduced. Even though recycling steel may not in the present technology available to small industry be very useful both in economy and effectiveness in terms of GHG abatement, a start towards this can be done. http://www.epa.gov/climateleaders/documents/resources/ironsteel.pdf
Now I’m sure there are many more Pen manufacturers big and small, who consume steel. And there must be many pens lying in dusty drawers or tossed away without a thought that the Earth is being plundered every minute to extract Iron ore, the raw material for manufacturing steel.
On the run-up to Rio+20 the UNFCCC event, Green Business Ideas are being sought by various organization. The simple collection and recycling of metallic Pens could provide an avenue for SME industry to contribute towards abatement of Climate change. The tremendous benefit of reduced mining activity can not be highlighted enough.
The Micro -Small and Medium Enterprise is best suited for this task because an individual entrepreneur can take upon him/herself to collect discarded or unused metal pens from local schools & colleges and in the process even get to collect from the big corporate firms where the parents of the children work and discard their pens too. Re-rolled Steel or smelters are already a mature market.
The UNICEF which requires a lot of aid can find this as an interesting program and with the help of UNEP and UNFCCC be able to generate a movement. What’s more, some pens which gather dust in the rich mans drawer may even be the first pen an under privileged child might cherish forever.
Note:** (as found in a website, http://www.amazon.com/Parker-Jotter-Stainless-Medium-PAR13333/dp/B001603YXI any error may kindly be excused, this article is not about any particular company or brand of pen and the above example is only to illustrate a point. )
- Beautiful Ballpoint Pens (fabsugar.com)
- Parker Reflex Fountain Pen (nopenintended.wordpress.com)
- Sky’s the limit for Swanda Brothers, a steel manufacturer in Oklahoma City (newsok.com)
- For Fine Writing Instruments, Select Parker Pens (siliconvalleylatinoleadership.com)