Refillable pens are several times MORE expensive than disposable ones, even considering the ecological cost.
Typically the purpose of a pen refill is not to save other pens, but to save the expensive pen that you like. Pens such as BIC’s (Biro’s) are meant to be thrown out, and there’s maybe a couple cents’ of plastic there. (I.e., it’s not worth bothering, for a BIC, see the first citation.)
On the other hand, refillable pens can cost up into $10s or even $100s. When you see that big a price tag on a manufactured good, it’s a sure bet a good part of that is energy cost. So if you have a $5 pen, you can guess maybe $1 of that went into oil. (Don’t forget packaging, shipping, handling, etc., all of which are a part of the cost.)
Also don’t forget the time it takes you to find a store, find the right refill, etc.
The best thing of all, ecologically? Is to buy disposable pens and just throw them in the trash. Why? A BIC can cost < 15 cents. Refills for refillable pens can easily cost $3.00, and 50 cents is really cheap. The energy saved recycling a BIC is only a couple cents.
So don’t buy refillable pens for the ecological value, and throw away BICs without bothering to recycle them.
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