3: The Pen is Mightier Than The Sword – but don’t forget your pencil!

How many pens, biros, markers, felt pens have you got on your desk, round the house, in your bag or briefcase, in your pocket? If you’re anything like me, you’ve got lots. How many of them are made of plastic? Don’t tell me – pretty much all of them. But do you need to write everything down in such a way that it is permanent or indelible?

Some things you might never want rubbed out, like official forms or a love letter to a significant other (for the romantics amongst us). But some things are written down today and gone tomorrow – shopping lists, reminder notes, phone messages for work colleagues – that are just going to end up in the bin. So, why not keep a pencil on your desk, by the phone, by the pad where you write your lists or anywhere that you need to jot things down?

Try removing one plastic pen from your desk, your home, your bag, your pocket and replace it with a pencil. Sure, keep a pen too for those scribblings that need to be kept forever, but you can probably write down half of everything you write with a trusty, old pencil – a bit of lead, graphite, whatever, surrounded by wood and biodegradable.

A pencil will last much longer than a biro, cost the same (or less), and you’ll have plenty of notice before it runs out. You can even write upside down with it. Plus, if you make a mistake, you can simply rub it out. Oh, and you’ll need a pencil sharpener – make sure it’s not plastic!

If you’re a parent with a creative child, why not swap some of their plastic-covered felt pens for colourful pencils or crayons? They won’t dry out if they leave the top off – and they’re much easier to clean off when your little darling scribbles all over the walls (that goes for office workers too!). If your baby produces a true piece of art with their pencils that you want to keep forever, you can buy spray fixatives from art shops to keep their masterpiece looking like new until you’re ready to embarrass them as teenagers.

But if you truly love pen and ink as much as I do (I really do!), then you might think about investing in a fountain pen (preferably not a plastic one) where you can refill the ink. If it’s a really special one, the chances are you’ll never want to throw it away.

Just think: If each person in the UK bought one less biro this year, that would be more than 66 million fewer plastic pens in the ocean in 2018. Quite a thought.

Happy scribbling!


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