Three iconic DS models manufactured fully from recycled material, equipped with the completely new lead free and environmentally-friendly refills: The DS Regeneration Pens stand for an innovative, all-encompassing sustainability concept that comprises the production of the casing and the composition of the refill. Manfred Dreher, Managing Director of Prodir Deutschland, talks about the sustainability of writing instruments that not only write but communicate as well.
What do the DS Regeneration Pens stand for in your portfolio? Manfred Dreher: We wanted to go one step further and finally incorporate the refill, too. With our colleagues from Premec, we have a team of internationally-recognized experts for refill technology in our corporate group. This is where the real ‘nerds’ work meant as a compliment of course – who go home in the evening and continue to think about how the interplay between tip, ball and ink can be further improved. And they’ve succeeded in doing that once again with the new Floating Ball® Lead Free. It is the only ballpoint pen refill in the world that has a lead free tip and writes with ink that contains no substances classified by the REACH List as being of «very high concern» (SVHC). If we compare the ballpoint pen to a vehicle, it could be said that we are the first to offer a low-emission ‘motor’ in a pen – without sacrificing performance. The Floating Ball® Lead Free is standard in the DS Regeneration Pens DS3, DS5 and DS8.
So, in a way, you’ve focussed on the motor? Manfred Dreher: The ‘chassis’ was also important to us. The casing of the DS Regeneration Pens is manufactured from regenerated plastic granulate, meaning the raw material is reprocessed from our own production waste. Instead of shipping in imported recycled recyclates, we intentionally use our own waste material. This explains why the DS Regeneration Pens are available in only three colours: Dark Blue, Black and Fango, an earthy, leather-like shade, which is very much a trend colour in these days in cosmetics and fashion. It is created through the mixture of multi-coloured recyclate. All models are also available in Soft Touch.
But what will you do when you run out of waste? Manfred Dreher: Should that be the case, the DS Regeneration Pens will not be available until we once again have enough recyclate. Our customers will surely understand this. What’s more, with our DS3 Biotic Pen, whose casing and mechanism is manufactured from 100% renewable raw materials (PLA), we always have an alternative available.
How would you generally describe your sustainability strategy? Manfred Dreher: I believe that the values which are important to us – strong acceptance, perfect functionality and long service life – make a ballpoint pen not only an effective promotional medium, but also an ecological one as well. The two belong together. We develop writing instruments that people really like and with which they can write well and for a long time to come. Good design isn’t a question of taste. Aesthetics, ergonomics and functionality are also decisive when it comes to how long a ballpoint pen is in use. The durability of forms and materials is an important principle for us – just consider a classic pen like the DS3 which we have been producing since the 1980’s and which is still as fresh today as it was back then. An icon.
So, durability is sustainability? Manfred Dreher: Without durability there can be no sustainability – that’s our message and you’ll find it in all of our products, without however having to label them as such. In order that people gladly use our writing instruments and for a long period of time, we equip them with excellent refill technology. And should the refill eventually run out of ink, it can easily be replaced in all models. For this to be the case, writing instruments must be made in a way that people value them and actually want to continue to use them – which brings us full circle to the most important thing: Sustainability always goes hand-in-hand with the acceptance of the product on the part of the user. After all, you only use something that you value for a long time.
But production must also be taken into consideration. Manfred Dreher: Of course! Did you know that Switzerland is the only country in the world where the rights of plants is anchored in the constitution? That’s the country where Prodir manufactures its pens. And with maximal vertical integration. This is something that has become rare. Many companies manufacture their goods completely or partly in Asia. We intentionally don’t do that in order to control all production stages ourselves and thus the overall quality. In terms of the corporate goal of sustainability, this means that we manufacture in line with the most stringent body of environmental laws in the world. When it comes to corporate social responsability, at Prodir there can be no misconceptions thanks to our production location. Not to mention our logistics: as we produce in the heart of Europe, we don’t need to dispatch containers around the world to deliver our goods. Our Swiss made is credible evidence of our sustainable and socially-responsible business practices.