Doing craft, coloring, drawing, making, cutting, slicing, sticking is a big part of kids’ lives, and they use a lot of ‘stuff’ doing it. So thinking about the impact on the environment of all this activity means eco craft & eco pen supplies do matter. After doing a rather soul destroying sort out and throw out of the kid’s dud felt tip marker pens, I wondered whether apart from using wax crayons and recycled or sustainable colored pencils, (and recycled paper to draw on), was there an eco pen option for kids specifically for coloring (not just writing)?
Then it occurred to me that actually with the new craze of coloring pages for adults catching on, eco-friendly pens, especially felt tip pens are kind of important for the big kids too (because who wants to use that fantastically awful product the Bic Pen For Women to do coloring with?).
So off I set on the internet hunt to find an eco friendly pen for colouring, to assuage my conscience of the probably millions & billions of plastic felt tip pens and markers that no longer have any love to give gathered in landfills everywhere. You see only part of most felt tip pens is recyclable (the lid), so the rest? Well you know the drill, it takes petrochemicals & heaps energy to make then, then after short term use our rainbow hued releasers of childhood imagination end up in landfill leaching chemicals into the soil and yup eventually the waterways. Ace.
Because nothing says ‘the wonder of childhood’ quite like making products that pollute their future.
So are there any Eco Pens on the Market Suitable for Coloring In?
Well first up I found some great coloring pages for adults, and that waylaid me slightly as I found the sort of meditative mindlessness in the soothing activity that frankly I have not had the pleasure of engaging it since PP (pre parenting). I digress.
What I then found was … well not a vast range but still a promising group of eco pens for colouring. If anyone knows any more about eco friendly pens and eco friendly craft supplies comment away!
Eco Pens – Coloring Pens & Craft for Kids that are Environmentally Friendly
The best eco pen option for colouring I found come from a supplier of eco craft from Germany (of course!). OkoNorm make an entire range of environmentally friendly pens, pencils, crayons, paints, playdough and other eco craft supplies. They are made in Germany and meet the (always high) standards for environmental protection in manufacture. They also meet high ethical standards in production because they make everything in Germany, and you can recycle most of the products. You can buy some of the OkoNorm products online from a UK supplier called Conscious Craft. OkoNorm get the big thumbs up for an eco pen and eco craft option for the conscious consumer & parent.
Smarkers, Smencils & Smens
A company called Scentco makes pencils, pens and markers out of recycled newspapers, and the pens themselves are totally compostable. Environmentally they are pretty onto it (though I am unclear WHERE they are made). The felt tip pens are called Smarkers, and in New Zealand you can buy their pencils, ball point and marker pens products for school fundraising, which is pretty cool. BEST of all they are all scented! That is right remember almost inserting pens up your nose as a kid to get the last whiff of cherry smell from your pen? Well you can experience the pleasure (or the kids can) all over again.
Micador does these lovely looking Eco Markers, and you can get a tub of 48 for the extra imaginative child or adult. They are sold in Australia and Made in Italy. They are in 100% recyclable packaging phthalates-free, Barrels and lids made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic and are fully recyclable. They are manufactured with solar power. Micador are not what you would call a strictly sustainability focussed company, but they having been making real efforts to pull up their game, so looks good in the eco friendly pen stakes
Crayola does use recycled plastic in some of their coloring pens (just look on the packaging when you buy them), but it is not the full eco pen package that the other options are (they do have a recycling scheme – see below, but only in the U.S and Canada).
Some of these options are more expensive than standard markers and felt tip pens, some are not. The test would really be in the quality of them and how long they lasted as well. So if anyone has experience of using any of these eco pens and eco markers (or in fact any eco craft products) and their performance compared to non eco products lets us know!
There are some refillable markers on the market by EcoSmart, they are a bit limited for coloring pages for kids or for adults, however they are probably a good option for other uses (they have eco whiteboard pens too).
Turns out a whole lot of kids in America thought it was pretty shabby that all their coloring pens or markers as they are called there were going to land fill, and they asked one of the main makers of felt tip pens – Crayola – to do something about making an eco friendly pen. What Crayola now does is accept their used pens for recycling to turn into clean burning fuel via a returns scheme called colorcycle – BUT only in America. So if you are looking for eco friendly craft supplies and are not based there recycling the full pen is tricky, you can at least remove the lid
Do it Yourself Eco Pens – Fixing Dried out Markers
You can always try a temporary fix on some of the dried out felt tip markers (ever known a child NOT to leave tops of felt tip pens reducing their life and driving you mad?). Depending on what the ink is made from will determine what you need to use to revive its flagging spirit. Worth a go anyway.
Upcycling Felt Tip Pens
For a cool craft project you could always attempt something like this necklace or this bag to divert your felt tip pens from landfill. If you read Italian, there is a whole page here on ideas for upcycling felt pens!
So go forth, color with conscience with you eco pens, and do let us know if we have missed anything off this list or you know of any other more general eco crafts.
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