If you’re considering moving toward an eco-friendly lifestyle, one of the most critical steps is reconsidering your plastics use. Plastics pose a massive threat to humans and animals across the planet. While some steps to decrease plastic use can be difficult, reducing plastic from pens is a simple first step.
The best sustainable writing material is wooden pencils, which contain no plastic and are largely compostable. However, if you prefer (or need to use) pens for work or school, there are plenty of eco-friendly pens that can help you make the switch simple.
Here, we’ve looked at many eco-friendly alternatives to traditional pens and come up with the 24 best options.
In choosing the best eco-friendly pens, we considered two major factors: writing and sustainability. Though the quality of a pen’s writing is mainly personal preference, there are some objective measures to consider when looking at pens.
Namely, they shouldn’t skip when you’re writing, and they shouldn’t spill too much ink or bleed on your page. They should feel smooth to write with and have a solid, comfortable grip.
When considering a pen’s sustainability, we prioritized pens with refill options, whether an ink well or an insertable cartridge.
Aside from zero-waste pens, we looked for pens that contain as much recycled material as possible and as many recyclable components as possible.
Best Eco-Friendly Pens
1. Molshine Handmade Glass Dip Pens
Far and away, the most eco-friendly pens available are dip or fountain pens. Because they don’t take cartridges like traditional pens, fountain pens have no components you need to dispose of, barring an ink bottle.
The pens can last as long as twenty years, making them a nearly zero-waste choice. Molshine’s Glass Dip Pens are made entirely of glass, so if it happens to break or you want to dispose of it, you can always toss the whole thing in the recycle bin.
The Molshine Glass Dip Pen holds a ton of ink and glides smoothly across the page when you write. The only drawback to dip pens is that they’re less portable than other options and are challenging to use for quick notes.
2. Handmade Bamboo Dip Pens
The Bonniesbitsandthings Etsy Shop sells bamboo dip pens that are entirely compostable. Though they’re a bit crude compared to more modern fountain and dip pens, they’re about as sustainable as possible.
Each pen is handcrafted, and you can choose between small, medium, and broad nibs. Though they’re not perfect for school or travel, they’re great options for those journaling at home or anyone dipping into calligraphy.
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3. ZenZoi Bamboo Wood Fountain Pens
ZenZoi Bamboo Fountain Pens are a great choice if you’re looking for modern fountain pens. Though fountain pens aren’t great for the on-the-go, they are very eco-friendly because they’re almost entirely zero waste.
ZenZoi makes its pens from bamboo, a highly sustainable, fast-growing wood that needs very little water. Not only is the pen made from bamboo, but the packaging is as well, making this an even better option for sustainability.
The nibs on the ZenZoi Bamboo Fountain Pens are high quality and well-balanced but (as with any fountain pen) will require some practice if you’re unfamiliar with using fountain pen tips. Nonetheless, the grip of these pens, combined with their well-crafted design, make them an excellent choice for first-time fountain pen users.
4. Caran D’ Ache Retro Ecridor Fountain Pen
If you’re an experienced fountain pen user and you want to consider an eco-friendly pen that will likely last you the rest of your life, the Caran D’ Ache Retro Ecridor Fountain Pen is a fantastic choice.
This pen contains no plastic and is entirely made of metal. It has a clean, streamlined design and writes with some of the best quality in the fountain pens market. It’s well-balanced and just feels good to use.
Caran D’ Ache Retro Ecridor also offers a rollerball pen for those looking for a more traditional option. The ink cartridge of the rollerball pen is plastic-free and can be replaced, reducing the amount of the pen you have to send to the landfill.
Though Caran D’ Ache Retro Ecridor’s pens aren’t great as school supplies where they may get lost or stolen, they’re perfect for adults that want to move towards creating less waste with a perfect lifetime-use pen.
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5. Parker Jotter Ballpoint Pen
If you’re looking for a more user-friendly option but still want to minimize the amount of plastic in your pens, Stainless Steel Parker Pens (especially the Jotter Ballpoint Pens) are a great option. You can repurchase the interior cartridges, which helps reduce the amount of pen that goes into a landfill.
As an added eco-friendly bonus, most of this pen is made of metal, including most of the interior. This means if you break it or need to replace it, you’re not adding to the growing microplastic problem.
Parker pens feel great to write with as well. They glide across the page and are popular for their slim, balanced feel.
6. Seven-Year Pens
The Seven-Year Pen from Seltzer is an excellent zero-waste option. Though they’re plastic pens, designers created them to last you for the rest of your life.
As the name implies, Seven Year Pens are packed with ink so that you won’t run out of ink for seven years. Even if you use everything in your pen up, they’re refillable, so you won’t have to throw away the exterior.
Seltzer furthers its sustainability by producing these pens in Switzerland, which means its factories comply with some of the world’s strictest environmental standards.
Seltzer has many color options to suit every style, and they’re known for their smooth writing and top-quality ink. Seltzer makes many other eco-friendly office supplies for those who like to match their stationery.
7. Agile Eco-Friendly Pens
Agile’s eco-friendly, plastic-free pens are closer to traditional pens than many other options. They’re completely free of plastic and only contain stainless steel, wood, and ink.
The pen caps are also made of wood, unlike many other brands that use plastic caps. The exterior of Agile’s pens can be recycled or composted, including the lid.
Unfortunately, you will have to throw away the inside when you run out of ink- though you’re still better off throwing their stainless steel interior away than traditional plastic materials.
The Agile pens are a great choice for those looking for sustainable school supplies. Because they’re inexpensive and largely disposable, they’re perfect for kids who misplace school supplies.
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8. Simply Genius Eco-Friendly Pens
The Simply Genius Eco-Friendly Pens are perfect if you’re looking for a retractable pen that closely resembles the pens you’re used to. These pens aren’t completely zero-waste or plastic-free like some options, but they are a great first step toward eco-friendly alternatives for anyone on the fence about making the switch.
Simply Genius Eco-Friendly Pens use recycled cardboard, repossessed plastic, and wheat straw, which means they’re sustainably produced, even though they’re not plastic-free.
Wheat straw parts are a popular choice in sustainable products. It’s renewable, BPA-free, and a natural byproduct of wheat production. If not used in creating other products, wheat straw is typically burned or otherwise destroyed, so using it in pens is a great way to minimize greenhouse gas emissions.
Simply Genius Eco-Friendly Pens are a great choice for anyone looking for eco-friendly school supplies. They’re not as expensive as pens designed to last for life, so you won’t worry about sending them to school with children or bringing them somewhere you might lose them.
9. Bic Ecolutions Pens
Bic’s Ecolutions line is another great eco-friendly alternative to traditional pens. They’re almost entirely made from sustainably recycled plastic and are sold in a recyclable cardboard box.
Bic pens have an excellent, well-balanced grip and are known for their fast writing and high-quality ink, and the Ecolutions line is no exception.
If you’re a fan of Bic pens in general, these pens are a great way to keep using your favorite pens while moving toward a more sustainable option.
10. The Eco Pen Club
The Eco Pen Club sells a variety of eco-friendly and zero-waste office supplies.
The Clicker Pens from the Eco Pen Club are great ballpoint pens. They’re made from recycled cardboard and contain only non-toxic soy ink. If you want to keep using your pen after finishing the ink it comes with, you can also purchase eco-friendly refills from the Pen Club.
The Eco Pen Club also offers an Earth Pen made from recycled kraft paper. The Earth Pen is also compostable and recyclable, reducing the amount of product in landfills. Its also made in a Forest Stewardship Council-certified facility, ensuring that the environmental impact of making the pens is as minimal as possible.
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11. Pilot’s B2P Line
Pilot’s B2P (bottle to plastic) line is fantastic for those that want their eco-friendly pens to be as close to traditional pens as possible. The line utilizes the same formula that has made Pilot a trusted brand for years but takes a more environmentally-focused approach.
Pilot makes their B2P pens with 86% recycled plastic from recycled plastic bottles. They have a comfortable grip and glide across the page when you write.
One of the best features of Pilot’s B2P line is that they make a variety of colors. Most eco-friendly options come in black and blue only, but the B2P line includes every color of the rainbow,
12. AGood Company Natural Grass Pens
Earth Hero is a zero-waste, sustainable goods company, and certified B corp. They sell tons of eco-friendly school supplies, including zero-waste pencils, sustainable pencil cases, eco-friendly backpacks, and much more. They host various AGood Company’s products, including their Grass Pens.
AGood Company’s Natural Grass Pens are BPA-free and made almost entirely of grass. The parts of the pen that need to be made from plastic exclusively use recycled plastic to try and reduce their environmental impact.
To further mitigate any environmental damage from shipping and producing the pens, the maker has committed to planting trees in proportion to their profits.
The ink used in AGood Company’s Grass pens is also made with low environmental impact in mind and is non-toxic to boot. To further increase the lifespan of the pens, Earth Hero sells pen refills in black and blue.
13. Conscience Concepts Cork Ballpoint Pens
Cork is a highly sustainable material, easy to grip, and lightweight, making it perfect for pens. The plastic parts of the pen are made from repurposed wheat straw, a fantastic sustainable alternative to conventional plastics.
Conscience Concepts Cork Pens are easy-to-use and are popular for their excellent ink and pen tips. This, combined with their low price-point and ink color options, make them a great option for low-waste school supplies for children who tend to lose their pens and pencils.
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14. Stablio Greenpoint Felt-tip Pens
Stablio has long been popular for its high-quality, sleekly-designed writing supplies. Their line of Greenpoint pens meets the top-notch quality standards that Stablio is known for while still providing an eco-friendly alternative to conventional pen options.
Though Stablio hasn’t moved away from plastic packaging and casing for their products, these pens use 98% recycled plastic, which offsets a significant amount of the damage.
One major factor that sets the Stablio Greenpoint Pens apart is their pledge to being carbon neutral. This means that Stablio promised to offset each pen’s carbon emissions by planting trees or using other carbon-capture technology.
15. Eco-Haus Bamboo Pens
Eco-Hause is a sustainability brand focused on making sustainable options more accessible to the average consumer. Their pens are retractable, made of bamboo and metal, and refillable.
The packaging for Eco-Haus pens is a plastic container tube, which is intended to be used as a pen cup holder, upcycling instead of recycling the necessary packaging.
If you prefer to dispose of your packaging, you can recycle it instead of tossing it in the bin because it’s made of recyclable plastic.
You can purchase Eco-Hause pens with a refill for each pen, doubling the lifetime of your pens.
16. The Creator Plantable Pens
The Creator Plantable Pens take a unique approach to creating eco-friendly products. Instead of being compostable or recyclable, The Creator pens are plantable.
Each pen contains seeds randomly dispersed throughout the material of the pen. When you’ve used up all the ink in the pen, you can simply bury it in a pot with soil and water and wait for your “pen-plant” to grow. Each pen contains seeds for fruit, vegetable, or herbs.
Though they don’t offer information on how much of each pen is made from recycled materials, they claim that you’re keeping 6 grams of plastic out of landfills for each Creator pen you buy.
Not only are the pens eco-friendly and entirely plantable, but they’re also great to write with. The ink is smooth and doesn’t clog or splatter, and the structure of the pen is balanced and nice to hold.
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17. Zebra Pens by Jimne-Clip
Zebra Pens are popular for their smooth writing style, balance, and grip. They’re solid pens with excellent clips that are difficult to break, so they should last you a long time. Though they’re not compostable, they’re made of 75% post-consumer recycled materials.
Post-consumer recycled materials are widely considered to have a more significant environmental effect than other kinds of recycling. Pre-consumer plastics come from manufacturing sources and are usually byproducts of manufacturing. Companies have incentives to reduce and reuse these plastics anyway to reduce costs.
Post-consumer plastics are what typically ends up in landfills. By committing to the use of these plastics, Zebra Pens is ensuring that more plastic is redirected back into consumer products and away from the environment.
18. Enkel Eco-Pens
Enkel’s Eco-Pens are sleek-looking, capped pens perfect for any school or office. Almost all of the material in these pens is made from recycled paper and wood.
Enkel is committed to reducing waste in landfills, and all of its products are shipped in recyclable packaging. Additionally, emissions from shipping and creating pens are offset through Enkel’s Eco-payback program.
The Eco-payback program promises that for every product purchased, Ekel will contribute to funds that offset and reduce emissions.
This isn’t just an ambiguous claim, either. Enkel openly states that for each pack of their Eco-Pens purchased, they will donate to capture 15.1 kilograms of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
19. Pilot Precise Gel BeGreen Refillable Rolling Ball Pens
The Pilot Rolling Ball BeGreen pens are a great way to choose a sustainable option without compromising quality or convenience. They’re made of more than 83% recycled plastic and are refillable, which helps keep more plastic out of landfills.
These eco-friendly pens are also very high quality. Many people prefer rolling ball pens to other pen tips, such as ballpoint or fountain pens, because of how they release the ink. The BeGreen pens are available in black, blue, and red.
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20. Earthly Good Biodegradable Corn Pen
Corn plastic is a fantastic alternative to traditional plastics. It requires 65% less energy, releases fewer greenhouse gases, and is entirely biodegradable. Overall, if you want a traditional plastic alternative but need a pen that functions just like a conventional pen, corn plastic pens are a great option.
Earthly Goods sells their corn pens in bulk for companies that want to print their logos and information on sustainable products. You can bulk-order corn pens in classic green and yellow or other fun colors.
21. Edding EcoLine Permanent Markers
Though they’re not technically pens, these nearly zero-waste markers are made of 90% recycled material- most of which is post-consumer plastics. It can be tricky to find permanent markers that are sustainably crafted, but Edding EcoLine markers fit the bill.
These markers come in four colors- red, black, blue, and green. Edding EcoLine uses ink made without toluene and xylene, two toxic materials you might see in permanent ink. If you’re looking for an eco-friendly Sharpie brand alternative, you can’t beat Edding’s EcoLine Markers.
22. Lamy Safari Rollerball Pens
Lamy is a high-quality, reputable pen company that makes fountain pens and roller pens. The Lamy Pen is a great option if you’re looking for a solid, refillable pen. They come in various colors, so there’s an option available for every preference.
The ink cartridge is replaceable when you run out of ink, which means you can keep the outer shell as long as it’s functional. While you can’t recycle the cartridge, it is made of metal, which helps keep some plastic out of landfills.
If, after you use it for a bit, you find that you prefer a different nib and ink cartridge, you don’t have to get rid of the Lamy pen, either. Most standard ink cartridges fit into the pen, which means you don’t have to waste the entire pen, even if you don’t love the ink.
23. Chinco Everlasting Pen
While it’s advertised as a pen, the Chinco pen is closer to a pencil. It uses metal to draw erasable lines on paper and never needs to be recycled or replaced. The Chino Everlasting Pen is one of the few writing utensils that are truly zero-waste because unless you break or lose it, you never need to replace it.
Most of this pen is made of aluminum, which makes it a sustainable and recyclable option if you ever want to get rid of it.
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24. Onyx and Green Bamboo Gel Pen
Onyx and Green is an eco-brand that makes tons of low and zero-waste school supplies, from eco-friendly pencil cases and wooden pencils to zero-waste notebooks and backpacks. They even have sustainably-made calculators and lunch boxes.
As the name implies, the Onyx and Green Bamboo pens are made (as the name suggests) of bamboo, a highly sustainable and green material. They contain soy ink as an alternative to petroleum ink, and the packaging primarily uses recycled materials.
The pens write well and have a thick, comfortable shaft for easy gripping. They are long-lasting and write smoothly.
Better yet, Onyx and Green offer customers the option to buy their Bamboo Gel Pen Combo, which comes with a refillable mechanical pencil to match. Overall, if you’re looking for eco-friendly pens, you can’t go wrong with anything from Onyx and Green.