I have loved fountain pens since I got my first calligraphy pen back in fifth grade. It was one of the Shaeffer calligraphy pens that can be found in most art supply stores. I’ve always played with calligraphy pens, and somewhere out there in the wide world, there’s a high school literary magazine cover filled with my calligraphy.
I expanded my fountain pen collection quite a bit over the last five years.
Just recently, I discovered statistic from the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery web site. It states over six billion disposable pens end in landfills every year. That’s 6 billion with a B. It’s hard to wrap the brain around that much waste, all of it plastic, going into a hole in the ground.
Here’s the next thing to wrap the brain around. Fountain pens have zero waste.
I’ll throw down this suggestion.
Let’s take a Lamy Safari for example, the little beauty above. It’s made of plastic, except for the nib and the clip, and a sweet little German fountain pen. I have one myself, and I usually have it filled with Noodler’s Gray. It usually comes with cartridges filled with ink you plug into the pen, and you’re off and writing. One can argue the cartridges will land in the garbage once they’re used up, producing a waste stream. Keep that thought in mind, and we’ll move to another solution.
The cartridge converter, shown above. Plug this into the pen where the cartridge should be, twist the red end so it works a screw that will draw ink into the tube. No waste.
Get yourself a bottle of Quink, shown above, and you have a writing system that will last for months, perhaps even a year until the bottle of ink runs out. Recycle the bottle. The pen will last as long as you last. No waste.
Hug a tree and hippie for all the wonderful things you’re doing for the environment. No more chunks of plastic going into landfills.
But you bought a whole package of cartridges. No fear. Find yourself a hypodermic needle, put it in the ink and draw the plunger, put the needle in the cartridge and refill. Still no waste.
Fountain pen snobs the world over might scoff at the options I have listed here. Lamy writes dry… Quink is good only on certain papers… buying hypodermic needles gets you put on a watch list. The color black is racist. Blah de blah. Every opinion has a counter-opinion and an argument.
The main reason I’ve listed these is for the price of an excellent pen that will last you.
Let me show you why I’ve picked out the system listed above.
All told, you’re looking at $35 for a damned good writing system (plus or minus shipping and handling).
I’ll continue this topic another post. This is something I can literally write thousands of words and your eyes will glaze over.