American fans of Sharpie pens and recycling have an option to do some good with their used pens – send them in to be recycled and earn 2 cents per pen for a charity of your choice.
Newell Rubbermaid, the company that owns Sharpie, Paper Mate pens and Expo markers, is working with recycler TerraCycle to run the program. The way it works is this:
You form a group – the company calls it joining the "Writing Instrument Brigade – at work or school and register with TerraCycle. When you sign up, you'll need to designate a charity or school to receive the money. Then, you collect the pens and markers and send them to TerraCycle using a pre-paid shipping form. The company will break them down for reuse into anything from flower pots to shopping bags and pay the charity you selected.
(School groups and non-profits can designate their own organisations as the charity.)
From TerraCycle's website:
The Brigade leader should set up a collection box (the box can be a reused copy paper box - get creative!) in a high-traffic area for individuals to drop off their empty Paper Mate, Sharpie and Expo writing instruments and packaging in the collection box. Boxes are not provided within the program.
According to TerraCycle, nearly 20,000 pens have been collected and about US$400 donated. Among the more than 500 schools, businesses and community organisations participating in the pen recycling are the University of Pennsylvania and Johnson College.
With this project, Newell Rubbermaid joins most of the other major pen companies in the environmentally sensitive writing instruments movement. As we mentioned recently, both Pilot and Pentel are making pens from recycled materials, as are Zebra and Bic and many others. And apparently, eco-friendly pens are paying off for the makers.
You can see Marty Furman from Pentel talking here about how recycled pens are driving sales: