The other day, while in the process of writing something, my Cello ball pen ran out of ink, and without a second thought, I threw it away in the waste paper basket that lay beside my desk. There is nothing unusual about that. If I take a count, I guess I may have thrown away thousands of such pens till now starting from my student days. True, one always has the option of changing its refill, but somehow, instead of stocking up on refills and reusing the pen, there is always this tendency to stock up on pens and throw away the old ones.
I don’t think I am an exception. Think about the number of offices where pens are used. Think about the number of school children who use pens to write. Think about each of the people who throw away cheap ball pens after use and buys another new one that gets thrown away too subsequently. And ultimately, think of those thrown away plastic pens which get trapped beneath the soil, surviving intact for centuries, creating environmental havoc! Or worse still, gets burnt to release all those toxic gases for us to breath in…
That is when I realised that as an organisation which promotes eco-friendly living, Sankalp could do a lot more in not just generating awareness on switching over to a greener way of living, but can also provide solutions and alternatives that would help people to actually source out products which promote sustainable living. When it came to the problem caused by plastic pens, the one alternative that I personally followed was in sourcing out paper pens which also had a seed embedded in them. But what has made it more special and have added to the value of it is the fact that these pens are created by a Thrissur based group of differently-abled children, many of who are diagnosed by problems like cerebral palsy, mental retardation, autism, etc., and their mothers. Somehow, it makes me happy that indirectly, as the head of Sankalp, which is aiming to empower women and encourage entrepreneurship, I am supporting a group which is actively engaged in turning their setbacks into a success story. And frankly speaking, the other side of it is that I gain a fair bit of satisfaction that I have reduced the amount of plastic waste that I generate personally.
There would be other organisations too that are into creating these eco-friendly pens. We are also trying to sell these pens through The Sankalp Store. Please do check out the options available and try to make a change in the way you live. Will you join me in my crusade against plastic pens?