Interview with Dieter Hinkel, Ritter-Pen
“We’re proud to be part of it”

Mr. Hinkel, how did the idea come about to recycle plastic waste from the dm subsidiaries and turn it into ballpoint pens?

Dieter Hinkel: The drugstore chain dm has been relying on in-house promotional products for years and is always looking for more environmentally-friendly alternatives. A student commissioned with the theme approached me to assess how we could make the haptic messengers implemented more sustainable. In addition to materials like wood or organic plastic, we also thought about recycling.
So-called goods dividers are used in the shelves of all of the dm subsidiaries and these are prone to wear and tear and have to be replaced pretty often. That is how the idea arose to recycle these plastic parts instead of throwing them away.

What were the industry’s reactions to the writing instruments made of recycled material?

Entirely positive. Many distributors were so impressed by the idea that they wanted to order the recycled ballpoint pens from us. We then had to explain to them that they are not actually a standard product, but instead a custom-made design. However, the high demand persuaded us to introduce a model made out of this recycled material to our standard range of products. dm supplies us with discarded goods dividers for our customers.

How did the cooperation between the responsible agency, Heka, and dm work?

The campaign was initially triggered off by dm, but the communication was completely open on all sides from the onset. We worked together closely to implement the campaign successfully. A final meeting between all people concerned was ultimately held at the dm-dialogicum, the company’s headquarters in Karlsruhe.

How many writing instruments have been produced so far?

For the first edition we produced 150,000 ballpoint pens from the recycled plastic. Since dm has been our customer for years and the campaign went so well we are convinced the project will establish itself long-term.

What does winning the Promotional Gift Award mean to you?

The distinction is a great honour for us. We see winning the award as a kind of quality seal for especially innovative, creative products and it makes us proud to be part of it. We received the notification that we had won during a big works meeting. Our Managing Director didn’t miss out on the opportunity to announce the triumph to everyone present straight away. That was definitely a highlight. The agency and dm were also delighted at winning the Award.