Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sustainable NYC's Corn Starch Pen

Passing through Sustainable NYC on Avenue A & 9th Street a few weeks back I saw this pen at the check out and had to get one. The shop had contracted with Lecce Pen to make their own green, biodegradable ballpoint, and designed the pen so that the colors are reminiscent of an ear of corn growing on a corn stalk.

The pen is made from Mater-Bi, a biodegradable corn starch product that can be processed using the same transformative techniques as plastic. Which helps market this product, the manufacturing is similar to plastic and doesn't require new equipment--which doesn't increase the price prohibitively either.

It's actually a very good ballpoint, it writes quite well with no skips or blobs of ink in the paper and as the barrel is square it feels different in the hand. What I also was interested in was taking it apart. If you're thinking of re-using the pen, the refill is quite long and on the slender side. But I'm thinking a Hi-Tec-C ink refill might also fit, and am planning a hack as soon as I find my pens.

If you're ever in the area check out the Sustainable NYC shop. It's 1300 square feet of recycled and fair trade goods, and every possible inch of space is packed with amazing items.


  1. What happened to the corn starch once used as the adhesive for lick 'em-and-stick 'em postage stamps, before self-adhesive stamps? Now we know where some of it went.:-) Jack/Youngstown

  2. But is it made from Genetically Modified biodegradable corn starch. What is the chewability factor for the cap and how does it taste.

    The pen barrel looks to be squarish how comfortable is it to write with ?

    The colours would go well with Australian sports teams too.

  3. Razide, the barrel is square but it's actually very comfortable to hold. Chewability is in the eye of the molar (or something like that), but it's akin to a piece of very old taffy--hard, but not impossible to leave teeth marks in it. I imagine it will soften up, just like old taffy.

    Jack, is that what's on the back of the old-style stamps? They tasted like paste, not chips! :)