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Felt and fibre in the office

The first waterproof felt pens were imported to Germany in the 1960s and neon-coloured highlighters were invented there in 1971. The market reacted enthusiastically to the new pens. Half a century later, a new generation is at work and a lot has changed in the products. The share of sustainably produced felt-tip pens and fibre-tip markers is growing, and the accompanying refills are sophisticated and convenient.

Hardly any office or educational institution can do without fibre-tip and felt-tip pens. This article deals with markers, i.e. fibre-tip pens with a bullet or wedge tip, for marking texts or for writing on boards with smooth surfaces or paper writing pads.

Where eco begins - The right marker for the office and training area

Markers differ depending on the surface, whether glass, whiteboard or flipchart paper. If the surface is dirty, roughly wet or even submerged in water, then industrial markers with special inks or pastes are needed, but only then because it would make no sense to write with them on paper. Even the simple permanent markers create trouble on whiteboards. On the other hand, the ink in whiteboard markers is not made for paper. The ink barely covers because the paper sucks large amounts of writing fluid unsuitable for paper out of the pen. In the process, the whiteboard marker empties extremely quickly. In addition, the roughness of the paper can damage the tip of the whiteboard marker, making it less opaque on the whiteboard. There are also hybrid models for flipchart and whiteboards, but these do not always have all the advantages of the classic markers.

Tip: Choose the right marker at the right time and use it for the right purpose.

Refilling "with love"

A standard highlighter consists of about 12 grams of plastic and is filled with only 4 to 5.5 grams of ink. When the ink is used up, about 12 grams of plastic remain as waste. Refilling improves this ratio. In training or facilitation, where a lot of writing is done, refilling is THE eco-hit and cost saver. Some flipchart markers are designed in such a way that they can be refilled with ink up to twenty times.

Tip for the classroom: keep a cloth bag or another labelled container ready for empty markers and collect the pens in it for refilling. This way, the pen is not accidentally picked up again even though it no longer has enough ink. It also makes collecting and refilling easier.

Ecolabel markers - tested environmental quality

A marker certified according to the Austrian Ecolabel is demonstrably free of chemical substances that are hazardous to health or, to put it bluntly, "the pen is without poison". No part may be made of PVC, not even the packaging. Both the barrel and the cap must be made of at least 65% renewable raw materials or recycled plastic. The markers are designed to be easily filled with ink and refills are also available. Plastic blister in packaging is excluded, instead if packaging is used it must be 80% recycled cardboard. A whole bunch of advantages that such an excellent marker offers. Other markers may also have their advantages, but a government Ecolabel like the Austrian one is a guarantee that these requirements are met.

Which markers already carry a national Ecolabel?

There are currently highlighters from two manufacturers that have undergone certification and whose markers carry the Ecolabel. There are two different versions:

  • Recycled plastic: The highlighter "STABILO GREEN BOSS" in yellow, green, orange and pink has been awarded the Austrian Ecolabel and is made of 83% recycled plastic. The refill ink comes in a practical tube to put on the pen.
  • Organic plastic: The edding 24 EcoLine highlighter in neon yellow, pink, light blue, light green and orange has been awarded the German Ecolabel "Blue Angel". The cap and barrel consist of at least 90% renewable raw materials, and filter fibres are made from recycled material. The mouthpiece is made of recycled post-consumer plastic. With the "edding filling station", the marker is inserted upside down with the tip in the refill bottle. Capillary forces in the ink reservoir and tip (liquids rise upwards in narrow cavities) "suck in" the ink until the reservoir in the barrel is full. The marker practically refills itself. "Refilling is already a tradition for us. edding refill ink has been around almost as long as edding markers."

The impressive concept from Edding

In addition to the "Blue Angel" highlighter, the edding EcoLine range also includes permanent, whiteboard and flipchart markers made from recycled plastic. The special feature of these markers in the EcoLine range is that even the writing tips are replaceable. With this offer from the manufacturer, the environmentally friendly edding EcoLine markers can be used many times longer.

Good outlook - company for the future

Edding's declared goal is to achieve climate neutrality for the entire company by 2025. By 2050, the company wants to achieve climate neutrality - without any offsetting - by further reducing CO2 emissions in production and work processes.

STABILO is also pursuing ambitious goals in the areas of climate protection and sustainability. With the company-wide sustainability initiative "STABILO together", the company also aims to become climate-neutral by 2025.

In addition, Edding and STABILO production sites have been ISO 14001 certified for years.


Clever shopping for the office product finder

5,000 environmentally friendly product recommendations for the office and school can be searched using an input mask. Two thirds of the recommended articles bear a national Ecolabel. An initiative of the Ministry of Climate Protection in cooperation with the Austrian paper and office supplies trade.

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