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Rewriting the Waste Cycle

Date:12 June 2021
Author:Green Office
The Green Office Embassy for Law & Arts: Lilly (author), Ben and Jessica
The Green Office Embassy for Law & Arts: Lilly (author), Ben and Jessica

Pens - whether you use them to write your lecture notes or to scribble a list for your groceries, they are part of our everyday life. Billions are produced every year and while one pen is just a very small tool, they add up at scale. Most pens are made out of plastic, filled with ink, which is then dispensed via a metal ball at the tip. But what do you do with your pen when it's used up? Most of us throw them in the trash. However, since your average pen contains bits of metal and ink, none of it will be recycled, nor will it biodegrade in a landfill. Even if you disassemble it, you will still be left with springs, refills and random metal bits. Where does all this go and is there a better solution to this? The Green Office Law and Arts Embassy found a solution: the TerraCycle Recycling Program!

TerraCycle is a recycling company that offers various free programs to recycle waste that is conventionally difficult to recycle. This includes, for example, glasses, beauty products, or coffee capsules. These products are collected after use and remade into everything from park benches to watering cans. 

The pen recycling project is one such recycling program. Organizations or individuals can sign up and collect used writing instruments. This can include everything from your average pen to markers or whiteout. Materials that cannot be recycled are other stationary items such as erasers, scissors, rulers or electronic products. Thus, all you have to do is to dispose of your old pens in our Pen Recycling cardboard box found in the foyer of the Harmony Complex. The Green Office Embassy will then take these boxes to the nearest collection point in Baflo once they are full.

For each package of pens sent to TerraCycle, the collection point will receive TerraCycle-points that translate into one cent per TerraCycle-point. These points can then be used for charitable projects. Greta Kuize, the coordinator for collecting the pens in our region is using the collected money to organize activities for elderly people, especially those that cannot afford the costs of social activities (e.g. transportation for a trip).

Saving the environment with proper recycling while also contributing to charitable causes is that easy: just dispose of your old pens in our container in the Harmony Complex!

Types of pens that can be recycled
Types of pens that can be recycled
Author: Lilly Goll
Author: Lilly Goll

Hi! We're the board of the Green Office Embassies for Law & Arts. Lilly is in her second year of International and European Law, Ben in his second year of International Relations and International Organisation, and Jessica is doing her master's of Energy and Climate Law. Knowing just how many highlighters one may have to go through over the course of their studies, we came up with this project to give your pens and similar items a second chance.


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