PaperMate goes green

PaperMate Biodegradable Product 2

PaperMate's Biodegradable pen and pencil line

PaperMate has been one of America’s go-to pens for decades. Users of these durable, reasonably priced products cover every age and economic bracket from schoolkids to corporations.

On Earth Day 2008, PaperMate’s parent company, Newell Rubermaid, established their sustainability policy, which included a commitment to energy and waste reduction and to sourcing green materials for their products.

With the approaching 40th anniversary of Earth Day, PaperMate has achieved creating two green product lines.

Their Biodegradable pen and mechanical pencil line was launched in November 2009. These durable writing tools have a soft touch yet are made to the high quality standards of all PaperMate’s products. Writing with them is smooth and comfortable.

PaperMate's Biodegradable pens

PaperMate's Biodegradable pens

These handsome pens and pencils are made from MirelTM, a corn-based ethanol bioplastic known for durability and resistance to heat and water.

“They’re made from materials that are eco-friendly,” says Ailihn Hoang-Kim (pronounced Eileen), Senior Brand Manager for PaperMate, “not from traditional fossil fuel.”

Their other green features include packaging that’s 100 percent PVC-free and can even be recycled.

Perhaps its best eco-friendly feature is it can be home composted. Tests show it will biodegrade in approximately one year.

Before composting, these products must first be disassembled since not every part is biodegradable (a short video on PaperMate’s website illustrates this). But having any part of a pen or mechanical pencil be biodegradable is new and exciting.

The ink in these pens unfortunately isn’t green. Hoang-Kim said no such biodegradable ink is produced in mass quantities, so they had to use conventional ink.

Still, she said, “it’s the best of a ballpoint. It dries quickly, with the smoothness of a gel.”

PaperMate has also created a Biodegradable Mechanical Pencil Refill Holder, containing extra leads and an eraser. Once it’s empty, toss the whole thing into your compost bin!

PaperMate Flex Grip Recycled PensTheir other green line includes recycled ball point pens and mechanical pencils.

PaperMate's EarthWrite Pencils - made of recycled wood


“They (all) write with the same great quality and performance of traditional pens,” says Hoang-Kim, but they also do something good for the environment.”

Expanding their commitment to the environment, PaperMate recently partnered with TerraCycle – along with their sister brands Sharpie® and EXPO® – to create the world’s first collection and reuse program for pens, markers and other writing instruments.

TerraCycleTerraCycle’s accepting not only the recycled products but also the traditional products so they don’t end up in the landfill, says Hoang-Kim.

Known for their “Brigades” that help recycle materials that otherwise would wind up in landfills, TerraCycle then “repurposes” them, giving these new products a second life.

TeraCycle’s currently collecting the returned writing products. Their repurposed ones will launch sometime in 2011.

Both lines of pens come in traditional blue and black ink, though the Biodegradable ones also come in red and purple too. They can be found where PaperMate office products are sold. Or go online to, then click on the on the left side of the page where it says “Biodegradable”.