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TerraCycle will launch upcycling program for used pens and markers

January 25th, 2010

From Green Right Now Reports

Popular brands Sharpie, Paper Mate and EXPO have announced a partnership with TerraCycle to collect and reuse pens, markers and other writing instruments while also helping raise funds for schools, charities, and non-profits nationwide.

Collection centers — called “Writing Instrument Brigades” — will be set up at participating locales, primarily in large corporations and schools where pens and markers are used most. For every writing instrument collected, two cents will be paid to a school, community group, charity or non-profit organization of the participant’s choice. TerraCycle said the collection efforts will reduce landfill proliferation, educate and inspire consumers to get involved, and provide much needed funding to schools and non-profit groups nationwide.

“Keeping one pen or marker out of a landfill may seem like a small contribution, but multiply that by the estimated $5 billion of writing instruments sold in the U.S. each year and it is a big opportunity to reduce waste to landfills,” Ben Gadbois, an executive with Newell Rubbermaid Office Products, which makes Sharpie, EXPO and Paper Mate products, said in a statement. “As the world’s leading producer of writing instruments, it’s not only our responsibility but our moral obligation to do our part to help the environment. TerraCycle offers us an innovative way to repurpose writing instruments after their useful life has expired.”

TerraCycle said the collected writing instruments will be dissembled and/or reprocessed to make new products.

The free program is available to any individual, group or organization. Interested parties can sign up with TerraCycle online to establish a Brigade location and then select the school, charity or non-profit group they want to support. Each Brigade prints a pre-paid shipping label from TerraCycle’s website to ship the collected writing instruments to TerraCycle for “upcycling” into new products. TerraCycle will donate two cents per writing instrument to the collecting Brigade’s chosen organization.

TerraCycle makes affordable, eco-friendly packaging and products from a wide range of different non-recyclable waste materials. It now sells more than 50 products at major retailers such as Walmart, Target, The Home Depot, OfficeMax, Petco and Whole Foods Market. TerraCycle also runs free national collection programs that pay non-profits and schools for recycling many different products.

Founded in 2001 by a 19 year old Princeton University freshman named Tom Szaky, TerraCycle started as an organic fertilizer company and has grown into a multi-category, eco-friendly partner to major consumer package goods companies. TerraCycle develops innovative uses for their waste streams and, by making products from these various waste streams, TerraCycle prevents 1000’s of tons of waste from going to landfills.


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