Certified, sustainable, environmentally friendly, made in Europe and with many advantages: the Schneider "Reco" ballpoint pen for everyone

reco head01

Italy | Spring, 2022

Talking about products for everyday use and top sustainability certifications, it leaves one pleasantly surprised to learn that even a "humble" ballpoint pen has managed to obtain and can already display the well-known and credible German Blue Angel logo (1).

In fact, a year ahead of the Fairphone 4, the world's most famous sustainable smartphone (2), in 2020 the "Reco", designed and produced in Germany by Schneider Schreibgeräte, was the first ballpoint pen for everyone to pass the strict rules aimed at also obtaining this certification, one of the first introduced in Europe since the late 80s. At the moment, this is a Reco exclusive that sides a wide range of advantages we highlight below, driven by the usual scheme proposed by MadeinGaia (3) to get to know better this low-impact pen that we can keep in our pocket or purse every day.

 Well known and credible sustainability certifications

As we mentioned, the "Reco" is a ballpoint pen manufactured by Schneider Schreibgeräte (www.schneiderpen.com), headquartered and with operations in southwest Germany, in Schramberg-Tennenbronn, in the Black Forest, and in Wernigerode, in the Harz. 

blauerengelLaunched in 2020, Reco pen made a name for itself because this was the first writing instrument in the world to achieve a Blauer Engel product certification  (4: https://www.blauer-engel.de/en/products/schneider-reco-mine-eco-725).

On the other hand, as like as some of its competitors, such as the Pilot Begreen Ecoball 2021 (5), this pen made entirely in the EU can not only boast a large number of process management certifications according to EMAS, ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 (https://schneiderpen.com/en_uk/downloads/), but also something more. 
Not by chance, in fact, the German company also offers a very complete annual Sustainability Report for viewing, which can be consulted by following the link 

These are certifications that clearly refer to the most widespread international standards and to well-known certifying bodies, but, as usual by following the scheme proposed by MadeinGaia to test the sustainability of a product, certifications alone are not enough: certifications, however credible, are in fact only a first step to inspire confidence in those who would like to know more and test the real sustainability of something.

emasNevertheless, however, these signs tell us that learning more about Reco's sustainable pen will not be a waste of time. 

In fact, telling widely about these certifications and documentation is already a good indicator that we are not dealing with "greenwashing".
Behind a "Reco" there is solid substance, which is all to be discovered. 

So, what other advantages does can a Reco offer, as we put it on a sort of “road test””?

 

 

High quality recycled plastics, good finishing and eco-design: writing pleasure and longer pen life

reco099 headcourtesy: madeingaia.itAccording to Schneider, the Reco pen body, which comes in a satin matte surface printed in blue, black or white, is made from 92% recycled plastic.

The advantage, in this specific case, is that this realization allows for a reduction of over 65% in CO2 emissions (compared to conventional plastic) (6).
For the price, the Reco's finish is not bad at all: the embossing of the Schneider brand and the words Recycled - Made in Germany are excellent, and you won't notice any smudges because the plastic, which has a sturdy but not coarse appearance, is obviously treated very well.
 

That's an advantage, because then the pen will be able to last longer, evidently.

At first glance at the Reco, in addition to the perceived quality, however, there is also another aspect to consider.

In fact, with the Reco in hand and ready for a quick writing test, the feeling is that those who work at Schneider have designed the pen with not only eco-design and perceived quality in mind, but also design strictu sensu.
 

reco 999 web reversecourtesy: madeingaia.itClosing it up, the Reco is appreciated for the attention to the design of the barrel, not so much cylindrical and convex, but rather triangular and tapered down to the tip.

In this case, an ergonomically harmonious shape sides the fact that in the hand the pen is light but also well balanced..

The Reco grips well and this combination of good design and lightness enhances the pleasure of writing because it dampens the fatigue of a long writing session.

And this is undoubtedly another good advantage.
At the moment of contact with the paper, (we tested it on Favini papers, favini.com), the goodness of the stroke, not particularly thick, despite being an M, is appreciable, nothing to complain about and the smoothness is good, although perhaps not yet like that of a Stabilo Ballpoint, for example.

Another advantage, then: if the pen flows better, we can devote more energy and concentration to what we are writing.

A thing which leads straight to the point of processing and design of the refill.

Further novelty, it is made of recycled plastic obtained from production and/or consumption waste, and it is also certified Blauer Engell https://www.blauer-engel.de/en/products/schneider-reco-mine-eco-725

According to the German company, " the Eco 725 ballpoint pen refill has a barrel composed of 95% recycled plastic, reducing CO2 emissions by more than 70% compared to conventional plastic

The well-made recycled plastic refill with stainless steel tip conveys ISO 12757-2 compliant indelible ink in blue or black, can be purchased in M or F sizes, and also offers another significant benefit: it works perfectly with non-Schneider ballpoint pens.

reco 001webcourtesy: madeingaia.itNot surprisingly, in fact, we were able to make it work perfectly in a Stabilo and a Faber Kastell. 

That's a good advantage because the pen will be able to work practically all the time, keeping up with its goal, which is ultimately to last for years and end its operating life as long as possible.
Last but not least, we almost forgot: even the clip to put it in the jacket pocket is made of recycled plastic, an advantage in the disposal phase, as we shall see.
The overall result is a product largely made of mono material, which already means fewer separation problems during recycling (7).
In conclusion, we are using Reco Schneider on a daily basis and for the time being we have no particular criticism to make. Especially since a new version of Reco Schneider, the Max, will be available in 2022, with a shorter taper, to meet the needs of those who prefer to write with a pen that is not too thin towards the tip

 

A minimalist, waste-proof packaging

reco 004 boxcourtesy: madeingaia.itThe sales package we purchased housed two pens: a single recycled cardboard pack with no sticky parts and two small windows to see the pen barrel (available in white, black and blue), as per the wording on the back of the pack, it confirms that the cardboard is recycled.

So, no waste of time and energy to send it to the collection in paper and cardboard: another advantage.

 

 

 

A pen to be used and reused for a long time and, in the end, even easy to recyclee

reco parti 002 web

Reco pen is a product originally designed to maximize the benefits (loss of time and energy, mainly) in the event that the pen is no longer available, perhaps because the plastic barrel has been accidentally broken or a part has been lost...).

Being in mono-material (8), moreover recycled, the body, tip, clip and other parts of the Reco Schneider can be safely placed in dedicated plastic bins, while the spring, which you can reuse in some creative way or for other pens, you can put it in the container suited to collection of metal debris. 

As for reuse, the Reco is designed exactly for this: Schneider have produced a pen that accepts the most popular refills, and this is undoubtedly another advantage, since you never risk to be left with a dry pen, or worse to discard it in time.

A reasonable price that's worth every advantage
reco 099 upcourtesy: madeingaia.it
On Schneider Schreibgeräte's ecommerce site, the official price of Reco is 2.50 euros for an order of 10 pieces, including shipping.

Indeed, among the various alternatives for sustainable writing accessible to all, this is a value aligned with that of much better known pens, such as, for example, the Pilot EcoBall 2021 or the Stabilo Ballpoint made of 79% recycled plastic (9).

As we have seen, however, a Reco Schneider ballpoint pen scores many more points in favor of a lower environmental and social impact, and, above all, it exhibits them in a very direct and extremely transparent way.

All these additional advantages compared to a cheap ballpoint pen certainly raise the value of the Reco: for 2.50 Euros, and probably even less, we are purchasing an object that does not run out of value when the ink runs out, but that has been conceived and realized to extend this value over time.

More precisely, the advantages we have underlined aim at ensuring a long life to Reco on two levels.

At a Planet level to minimize the environmental and social cost of production and recycling; and at an individual level to spread the purchase price over several charging and refilling cycles and make the pen costless day by day, both in euros and energy.

When we think of making a sustainable choice, the basic consideration is that a less unsustainable object is not bought for what it can do now, but for what it will be able to offer for as long as possible.

Under this point of view, Reco pointball pen marks a first example of how we will have to get used to reconsidering our relationship with purchasing (and using) of even the smallest objects in our daily lives.

In our future, which is in many ways taking shape at an unexpected speed and direction, sustainable choices appear increasingly be the only viable option.

 

Text by Paolo Falcone | Editor for MadeinGaia
Paolo Falcone | Texts and Marketing & Operation Management

 

 

Notes and sources (from the italian version of this item) 

1. https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blauer_Engel,

2. https://madeingaia.it/it/vantaggi-e-benefici/per-le-persone/per-comunicare/229-un-passo-avanti-i-vantaggi-e-i-benefici-di-fairphone-4-smartphone-unico-e-sostenibile

3. https://schneiderpen.com/it_it/impresa/storia/

4. Blauer Engel / Blue Angel certification is probably the "oldest" and best-known European label that signals the lower environmental and social impact of a product compared to the standard. https://www.blauer-engel.de/en/products/schneider-reco-mine-eco-725

5. For Pilot's BeGreen pens, "...to secure the production and minimize the environmental impact, all Pilot's factories are ISO 14021 and 14001 certified.Pilot's ISO 140001-certified factory in France is where the recycled plastic pens in the BeGreen range are produced. "as stated at https://inglisweden.com/en/our-pens/brands-pilot/

6. See from source schneider and climatepartner, it's certification https://www.eucertplast.eu/_files/ugd/dda42a_35f229306557479fb26f4b798e8cf66b.pd 

7. According to the Italian legislation on waste, the ballpoint pens must be compulsorily disposed in dry waste: but with a pen guaranteed to be made of recycled plastic and carefully separated from other materials, the collection in plastic is possible

8. https://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/monomateriale_%28altro%29/

9. https://www.pilotpen.it/it/collezioni/indispensabili/b2p/b2p-ecoball-penna-a-sfera-begreen-punta-media.html and https://www.stabilo.com/it/prodotti/per-scrivere/penne-a-sfera/stabilo-pointball/

 

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Thanks for following the thread of words and images of MadeinGaia until the end of this story!

MadeinGaia.it was born from an idea by Paolo Falcone.

Work organization analyst and marketing operation manager, Paolo is editor of Madeingaia and coordinates its contents, takes care of the collection and classification of sources, interviews and, when possible, provides personal and subjective impressions on sustainable products.

In particular, in some cases the products with low social and environmental impact of which we write are also personally tested.

The images on the site are partly purchased from specialized sites and partly made by MadeinGaia.


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