Are pens and markers recyclable?

Recycling used balloons

The ballpoint pen is the most popular writing instrument in the world. It has a loading tip, with a ball that is usually made of steel (the ball of the “boli”) which, when it comes into contact with the paper, doses the ink that comes out as the ball breaks.

It also has a metal or plastic tube that contains the ink and a protective cover. There are a lot of colors and shapes. We can also find more or less liquid inks and there are even scented ones. And when the pen ink runs out, what do we do? Ecoembes tells you.

Yes, ballpoint pens are recyclable. However, there are more sustainable pens, such as refillable pens. Once the ink runs out, you can buy another one and put it inside its coating so you don’t have to buy a new one.

When they are used up, writing instruments such as pens should be taken to clean points. On the other hand, in 2011, BIC and TerraCycle joined forces in favor of recycling by offering a better alternative for recycling these products.

Where to recycle balloons

We constantly need to use ballpoint pens, which are undoubtedly the main writing instrument. Although there are some models that have a replacement system when they run out, what happens with the pens that break or have no change to continue using them?

That’s when most of us have the same question: where should pens be disposed of? Generally, we think that the most logical thing to do is to put them in the yellow garbage can, where “plastic things” are deposited.

But in reality this is a big confusion, this container is only for bags and packaging, which must carry a special symbol that identifies them as recyclable. Pens are not packaging and contain metal materials and other substances that, until recently, could not be recycled.

TerraCycle created the “writing instrument recycling program”, with different collection points where any pen, pencil, marker and other writing instruments are received, with the exception of those made of wood such as conventional pencils.

Spheres are recyclable

We can’t think of a better example than this to illustrate the theme of pen recycling: the writing instrument recycling program launched in collaboration with Terracycle and the world’s largest pen manufacturing and distribution giant, Bic. A program that makes it “very easy to recycle pens free of charge, taking a step forward in protecting the environment”, as explained in its terms and conditions. The initiative is aimed at associations, schools, companies and administrations, which are offered the possibility of becoming collection points for pens and other writing instruments. Individuals, for their part, can collaborate by going to these points to deposit their pens and utensils once they no longer use them, at the time of disposal. The entities that join the program, such as the City Council of Calatayud, receive points for each collection and shipment of this material for recycling, points that can be exchanged for donations to schools and other associations.

Recycling energy

Pens, like ballpoint pens and highlighters, are writing instruments that contain their own ink. The tip is usually made of a porous material such as felt which, when it comes into contact with the paper, expels the ink retained inside.

It is common for the ink in felt-tip pens and ballpoint pens to wear out or dry out and need to be disposed of. This is when the question arises: Where should I dispose of my markers? Ecoembes tells you.

The first thought is that, as they are made of plastic, they should be thrown in the yellow garbage can. But no! Only plastic containers, such as bottles, plastic bags or cans, should go in this bin.

This program has a multitude of collection points that collect all types of writing instruments of all brands and materials. They accept pens, markers, highlighters, highlighters, mechanical pencils… but other objects such as pencils, chalk, glue and rulers are not accepted so as not to harm the recycling process.