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    Where to Recycle Used Pens? WCI Wednesday

    recycle used pens

    Heading to your local bank or any sort of street fair tends to have one giveaway: Free Pens! And who doesn’t need writing supplies – even in this digital age?

    Yet a few ‘free’ pens can stack up to a pile of half-full, glutenous answer to the mighty pen-or-sword  debate.

    Which brings us to our Where Can I (Wednesday) question:

    Where can you recycle used pens?

    I asked one of the managers at Waste Management in Philadelphia, who told me this:

    Pens/highlighters would be acceptable if the internal felt (textile) and/or ink residue could be removed (which unfortunately isn’t practical).

    So what else can you do to recycle used pens?

    • Terracycle has a writing instrument brigade. The only downside is that you need to collect at least 7 lbs of pens, highlighters or more before dropping them in your PO box. However, I have a feeling an office, school or neighborhood collection wouldn’t take too long…
    • Limit your use in the first place – decline freebies like We Hate to Waste.
    • The Pen Guy turns your (any type of) used writing instruments into art. Send ’em to: The Pen Guy – P.O.Box 994 – Forestville, CA 95436

    I also asked the Pen Guy himself (aka Costas Schuler) a few questions about turning his pens into masterpieces.

    Green Philly Blog: First thing first: Why use recycled pens?

    Costas Schuler: The idea to use pens just came to me one day. I woke up one day and the idea was just there in my mental inbox, so to speak. I went online and did some research to see if there was any one else that had done the same thing and was surprised that no one had, so I went with it. It was great because I knew everyone had pens lying around that they wouldn’t mind giving them away, it was perfect:)

    Green Philly Blog:  Have you seen anywhere that CAN recycle them?

    Costas Schuler: There are only a few types of pens that CAN be recycled and the only place I know of is TERRACYCLE. There are so many types of pens and types of plastic that unfortunately no ones has cracked the code yet.

    Green Philly Blog: Have you been to Philly before?

    Costas Schuler: Not yet:)

    Green Philly Blog: Did you ever think your kleptic habit for pens would gain notoriety? (jokes.)

    Costas Schuler: First of all, the pens were received by permission. :-) And no, I had no idea my project would be such a hit. There is something very magical about seeing thousands of pens in one spot especially glued to a car. I believe the reason why people react so strongly is because everyone has seen pens and know what they are but they have never seen them in this way. There is a mental sonic boom that happens in people and laughter is the resulting sound effect.

     

    Readers, are you drowning in pens? What do you do to recycle used pens?

     

    Photo: The Pen Guy

    Julie Hancher

    About Julie Hancher

    Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with eco-friendly wine and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Pounce DeLeon.

    Your thoughts . . .

    • Emma

      Yes! I do it all of the time! You can now throw the whole pen,marker,and mechanical pencil in recycling and it will get ground up and the plastic particles will automatically get separated from the metal with a magnet:) Also Terracyle does it too for free or just use the blue recycle bin:)

    • Karen

      Emma – As I stare at some empty ink cartridges, I’d be interested in learning more about where you recycle the pens.