The Beyond Waste Perpetual Pen - a test in circular thinking
What is a Perpetual Pen? you may ask.
You wouldn’t be alone if you did, as that was the general reaction when we offered one to a the exhibition attendees who chatted with us.
Like it says on the pen, it’s ‘perpetual’ - so it’s a pen that when it runs out - you simply get in touch and we will send you a refill! Yes, for real!
That way you should never have to throw the pen itself away. Being a good quality pen made from robust materials - metal and rubberised barrel - it should last a lifetime. And who would throw a pen that offers that away? You're not just throwing a pen out, your discarding a lifetime service!
Most fascinating was the reaction of the people we passed the pen to. This ranged from the likes of David Palmer Jones CEO of Suez, Mike Brown MD of Eunomia and Colin Church CEO of CIWM. As you might expect from an industry leader with circular thinking on his mind, David got the idea immediately - "its servistisation in practice!" - That’s right David - you got it.
Mike was a bit more sceptical: "How exactly are you going to ensure you can keep supplying refills?" - a response you might expect from a consultant trained to think critically about the practicalities of making things work. The answer being to simply make sure we keep a supply in and don’t lose the web address of the suppliers!
The best reaction was from Chris Murphy Deputy CEO of CIWM. Once the idea was explained and the penny dropped he exclaimed "That’s bloody brilliant!" That took the biscuit - and the pen too!
As Managing Director of Beyond Waste I applaud those who ‘got’ what this small step towards circularity was about - I believe it is by taking such small steps that the circular mindset fundamental to underpinning the circular revolution will be embedded.
It is a time of transition for the trade circuit that branded freebies have become an integral part of. If you are trying to work out how to still have give-aways that are less disposable then consider the idea of a 'perpetual ' product is applicable to any consumable product requiring some replacement part, that can extend product life. It could for example be supplying a battery for a banking dongle, rather than a complete replacement dongle. There is plenty of scope for creative thinking in this area.
If you are a business owner interested in exploring our Perpetual Pen concept further or getting hold of one of your own, click here and fill out the survey suggesting a product suited to the perpetual name tag. Submitters of the best suggestions will receive a complimentary Perpetual Pen with refills on request!