Let's begin with with the positives first: The Papermate Biodegradable Ballpoint Pen has a slightly contoured barrel in a somewhat earthy-looking colour scheme. It is retractable and the plunger indicates the colour of the ink. The plastic feels pleasantly smooth, although a slight seam is noticeable on either side of the barrel. Overall, the pen is surprisingly lightweight and comfortable to use.
However, the main selling feature of this pen is the fact that it's made of biodegradable plastic. But, I must ask, how "green" is it? Although I'm glad to know that this pen will not end up sitting around in a landfill for centuries to come, a certain amount of energy is still needed to produce it and ship it the store, so I still have some doubts about how environmentally friendly this pen really is. Although this pen is refillable, I also doubt whether the average ballpoint pen user would actually seek out a refill. Still, it is an improvement over the average plastic pen.
But even if the Papermate Biodegradable Ballpoint could single-handedly save the world from environmental disaster, it would still not be redeemed in my eyes, because, unfortunately, it writes like any other mediocre ballpoint pen. The line skips and is full of white spaces. I need to exert considerable pressure while writing to make a mark on the page and, even then, I don't feel as though the ink is dark enough. A smooth writer this pen is not, but I must admit that I was not exactly expecting anything too stellar in writing ability to begin with. Since the barrel is appealing and comfortable, if I could put in a gel or Jetstream refill this pen might become a favourite, but as it is I'm afraid it will end up at the back of my pen case.
Still, some people are ballpoint people (despite all my attempts to change their ways) and others don't really care what pen they use - they just want a basic pen to toss in their bag and not have to worry about losing. If that describes you or someone you know, then I encourage you to check out the Papermate Biodegradable Ballpoint as a (somewhat) environmentally-friendly choice.
Related reviews: OfficeSupplyGeek, Pocket Blonde.