This is a pen I got secondhand from work when I had to fill out my change of address forms and found the pen I was handed to be to my delight, and its owner offered the pen unto me. It’s not right out of the package clean, but it’ll do!
A little bit of googling later, I was able to identify this pen as the Paper Mate Earth Write ballpoint—a pen made from a corn-based material called Mirel (the line also includes a pencil and the most lovely-looking eraser and lead refill container) that is comprised mostly of biodegradable components (takes about a year, according to Paper Mate, and unlike some bioplastics it can be biodegraded in a home compost or natural soil, instead of having to go to a special composting facility). That’s a nice feature to see, especially in a society that seems so bent on treating pens as disposable products.
Confession time: I love corn plastic. It’s smooth, it’s supple, and it doesn’t feel cheap. I just want to keep touching this pen.
The design is subtle but fantastic. I love the slightly canted bell sleeve shape around the plunger, the curve and taper of the clip, the slight bulge of the grip, the muted earthy tones of the corn plastic (might have gone with a dark warm gray for the plunger though, instead of the full force bright black (also no, I will not stop calling it corn plastic)). The grip has traction to it without seeming too prone to gathering debris (though it has, over its life thus far, gotten a little dirty). As far as low-end pens go, it’s got class.
Obviously, this isn’t a Jetstream. The writing, as with all ordinary ballpoints, cannot even begin to compare to that delightful class we call the super-smooth ballpoint. But as far as ordinary ballpoints go, it’s pretty good. No blobbing, good to sketch with. Writing lines aren’t perfect, but no streak-outs so bad that I’ve had to retrace any letters. The refill isn’t breaking ground, but the body is fantastic and the refill, though not revolutionary, doesn’t hold the pen back. Though I would suggest, if they haven’t already, Paper Mate ought to get in the super-smooth game, and do so with this body.
This pen really surprised me. Clearly I need to pop my head in the box stores more often to see what’s new in the mass market!