Open Letter to Pilot Pen Corp.

Dear Pilot,

You tell me to “simply write” and so, I proceed. As someone who is environmentally minded and very much into “eco-friendly” products, I really want to believe your “Bottle 2 Pen” campaign is a step in the right direction, but after pondering it a bit more, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s straight greenwashing, thinly veiled.

Just another case of good ole greenwashin'.
Just another case of good ole greenwashin’.

A friend of mine first gave me a “B2P” pen a few years ago, back when the product was still fairly new. At that time, the marketing tactic was something along the lines of “Buy the pen, save the shell, then buy refills!” I was all about it; while I don’t love plastic, having a reusable pen sounded perfect. I’d save money by only buying refills and have a pen that lasted longer than regular old Bics. “Awesome!”, I thought.

Flash-forward to the present day and I find myself kind of shocked and appalled at the evolution of the “B2P” line. What bothers me is not the fact that I can’t even buy the refills at Staples anymore and instead have to order them online (I love online shopping!) but that the marketing campaign surrounding the “B2P” pens has completely done away with promoting the fact that the pens are refillable. Yes, yes, when you go to the B2P website, there are the pens, listed as refillable…but where are the refills? Why do I have to go to a completely different website to get the refills? Why isn’t the refill something that’s being highlighted on the homepage? Instead of creating awkward bottle cartoons that only children can identify with, why not advertise to those that might actually find the refills useful?

In my eyes, this whole campaign is a missed opportunity. It’s great that these pens are made from recycled bottles but if every person using these pens just throws them away when the ink is gone, only to replace it with another 94% recycled-content pen…is that really achieving anything? Or is it just another product, competing for attention in the pen aisle and wasting resources along the way?


A disappointed former Pilot Pen user


One thought on “Open Letter to Pilot Pen Corp.

  1. Hi, Ryan!
    I always love reading your posts and this is right on! Glad you expressed it so well and hope you receive a response! I am trying to do my best to reduce plastic in my life and writing instruments definitely are an area where I need work. We’ve been working on this in our elementary school and it’s a big learning process. We collect pens that no longer work to send to TerraCycle for recycling but we often get pens in our collection bins that still do work – they just become lost or unwanted. I am hopeful that we can bring back the spirit of the generations who lived through the Great Depression and learn to use things and reuse things and fix things and refill things! Thank you for all of your hard work towards this goal! Best wishes, Kate


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