Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pilot B2P Gel Ink Pen (and a Rant)

The Pilot B2P is a member of Pilot's BeGreen line of pens, and is made from recycled plastic water bottles, hence the name: B2P stands for "Bottle To Pen."  It is refillable with the popular Pilot G-2 refills.  Because this, there are no problems with the writing ability of the B2P; just as expected, it writes very smoothly and cleanly, with no skipping or bleedthrough.

The most interesting and unique part about this pen is the pen body itself, which is made, as mentioned above, from recycled plastic water bottles.  The design of the pen even mimics that of a water bottle.  It is a rather funky looking pen and the grooved plastic grip and medium width of the body makes it fairly comfortable to use.

Overall, if you like the standard G-2 and you're looking for something just a little bit different or if you are environmentally conscious and want to choose a pen that has less environmental impact, then the Pilot B2P would be an excellent choice.  Or would it?

Excuse me if I rant a bit here, but I would like to point out that the B2P is still a plastic pen that required a certain amount of energy to produce, from the recycling of the water bottles to the creation of the pen itself, and to ship to the store.  Although it is refillable, I suspect that most people who buy inexpensive pens like these simply can't be bothered to buy refills, and when they are done with this pen, they will simply throw it in the garbage, where it will eventually end up as just another piece of plastic waste in a landfill somewhere.

Although being made into pens is a better fate for water bottles than being thrown away and while I also respect Pilot for trying to produce pens that are more environmentally-friendly, the B2P is far from ideal here.  If you really want an environmentally-friendly pen, get a good fountain pen, which can last for decades and can constantly be refilled with different inks, or use a pencil, especially one of those that is made from recycled materials.  Pens made from biodegradable plastics are also not a bad choice.

Don't be sucked into buying an item (a pen or anything else) just because the manufacturer has labelled it as "green."  If the environment is that important to you (and I hope it is!), think carefully before you buy and remember that the old fountain pen and ink may still be the best option.

Related reviews: Future; Nostalgic, penamor, The Pen Addict, Gourmet Pens, OfficeSupplyGeek, Dose of Salt, Pocket Blonde, Rhonda Eudaly.


  1. Ah, Heather, a rant seems a little out of the ordinary for you, so this subject must really get you riled up!

    I'm not so sure fountain pens are as enviro-friendly as everyone likes to say, and it's certainly not why I use them. Hmmm, I feel an enviro-post coming on.

  2. This is a topic that I feel passionate about, and I'm also trying to liven up my posts a bit and make them a bit more interesting than just the standard old review.

    Probably no pens are completely environmentally-friendly (unless perhaps you made the pens and inks yourself out of natural materials). I use many pens that are not very environmentally-friendly at all, but they are very nice pens to write with, which is usually my main consideration when buying a pen. But then I don't drive a car, I walk everywhere, I buy mostly local foods, and use reuseable bags, so perhaps that makes up for it? :)

  3. This is something I get really passionate about, like Heather. I hate green washing, and I always try to call manufacturers out on it on my blog (if necessary!). Good on you for having a rant too!

  4. errr, idiot moment there! Sorry, Heather!

  5. Actually, no matter how inexpensive the pens themselves, I buy my G2 refills and reuse the barrels until they can't be used anymore. I keep a stock of the extra fine black refills on-hand, it's still cheaper than the pens themselves AND there's the savings on the environment for not purchasing new barrels. So even though this barrel is greenwashing, it may have taken as much energy to remake a bottle into a pen etc. the G2 is actually a popular enough pen that it's nice not to create NEW plastic to use my favorite pen -- once my barrels are unserviceable or I need to deploy additional pen-units into various bags and projects, I'll see whether I can find these barrels. Unless there's a project online for a "make your own G2 barrel from reused household materials" -- that would make me sit up & listen :)

  6. Thanks for the comment, Rev. Criss! I'm glad to hear that you're trying to have less impact on the environment by buying refills rather than new pens. I think that all pens should have refills readily available, and that pen companies should encourage pen users to buy refills more than they do now. Probably only true pen addicts seek out refills for their favourite pens now. Most people, I'm afraid, probably just throw their old pens out.

    And if you ever see anything online on how to make your own G2 barrel, let me know! That would be great :)


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