According to the EPA, Americans throw away 1.6 billion disposable pens every year. (1) That’s a lot of wasted plastic!

If you’ve got used pens – or other writing instruments – laying around the house, don’t just throw them away. We’ve got some ideas for ways that you can recycle (or perhaps even upcycle) them:

  • Use a pencil to keep your hair in a bun.
  • Scratch your back. (Just make sure you don’t get covered in ink!)
  • Can’t find a box opener? Use a pen instead!
  • Two pencils + one pot = toddler drum. (You might need some earplugs for this one.)
  • Have depressed reset buttons on some of your devices? Use a pen to get them unstuck!
  • Use a pen or pencil as a plant starter. It will give the plants something to cling to as they grow.
  • Create a DIY sprinkler head for your yard or garden by making holes in a plastic bottle, filling the holes with empty pens, then hooking the bottle to the end of a hose.

Fun Fact: If you want to literally recycle those old writing instruments, you’re in luck! In 2020, BIC partnered with international recycling leader TerraCycle® to offer consumers a free and easy way to recycle their full-used pens, mechanical pencils, markers, and other stationery products and parts of packaging nationwide. (2) Find out more here.

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