New Australian Recycling Program Launches for Pens, Markers and Highlighters

New Australian Recycling Program Launches for Pens, Markers and Highlighters

Ground-breaking new recycling program for writing instruments launches in Australia.


A new Australian recycling program will make all brands of pens and markers 100% recyclable, thanks to a partnership between leading stationary company BIC, and innovative recycling giant TerraCycle. Launching today, the Writing Instruments Recycling Program will encourage schools, offices and communities across Australia to collect used pens, markers and other writing instruments to be recycled. The partnership between BIC and TerraCycle has already seen impressive results through its European programs, having diverted an incredible 40 million pens from landfills across Europe to date.

The Writing Instruments Recycling Program accepts all brands of used pens, mechanical pencils, markers, highlighters, correction fluid and correction tape. To recycle in the program, Australians simply visit the TerraCycle website to sign up and join the program, then start collecting used writing instruments in any available cardboard box. Once the box is full, they can download a free shipping label from their TerraCycle account and drop the box off at Australia Post. From the beginning of September, collectors will also be able to drop off their used writing instruments at any participating Officeworks store for recycling.

TerraCycle will then sort, shred, and melt the items down into plastic pellets to be used in the manufacture of new products such as garden beds, park benches and even playgrounds. Additionally, for every kilogram of writing instruments sent to TerraCycle, collectors will earn $1 towards the Australian school or charity of their choice. Globally, more than $45 million has been raised for schools and charities through TerraCycle’s free programs.


“At BIC our commitment to reducing our environmental footprint is ingrained in our values, so we are thrilled to be able to provide Australian’s with a free solution for recycling writing instruments at the end of their life,” said Mark O’Sullivan, General Manager BIC Asia-Pacific.

“Our program with TerraCycle also reinforces BIC’s commitment to education. Educating current and future generations about sustainability is an important focus for us, and our TerraCycle partnership not only allows us to do this, but also provides the opportunity to use our recycled materials to give back to local communities in the form of parks and playground equipment.” 

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General Manager of TerraCycle Australia, Jean Bailliard, adds: “TerraCycle is committed to educating Australians on the importance of resource conservation. With the support of leading brands like BIC, we are able to teach both children and adults the value of recycling products they use every day at school or at work, that would otherwise end up in landfill.”

Sydney resident Tara Edney will now be able to recycle her used pens, markers and highlighters thanks to BIC and TerraCycle.

The program is also highly welcomed by eco-conscious consumers including Sydney resident, Tara Edney, who’s been saving her used pens for years, in the hopes that such a program might one day become available.

“I have a collection of old pens and markers stacking up at home and reached out to TerraCycle hoping they could point me in the right direction. There are so many of these items disposed of each and every day. If we can get schools, hospitals, and businesses on board to recycle them instead, then we can all move towards a more sustainable future together,” said Miss Edney.

Waste warriors Holly and Charli Garrity, also known as the Wacky Wildlife Sisters, from Hilder Road State School in Queensland are excited supporters too.

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“We want to do everything we can to protect our planet and all the amazing animals in it for generations to come. Inspired by our idols Steve and Bindi Irwin, we joined the Visionary Wildlife Warriors program in order to raise awareness of Australia’s endangered animals. Through this, we started looking into ways we can help keep more of our waste out of landfill and found out about TerraCycle.”

“Considering the amount of pens and markers we use in our school and across Australia, we think this new program is perfect for us to get involved in. We hope this recycling program will have a huge impact across Australia and reduce the amount of plastic entering our environment. We have 500 students in our school and would use about 20 pens each per year. That means, as a single school, we could recycle 10,000 pens alone!”

School teacher at Chatswood Hills State School in Queensland, Tina Cranley, has been searching for a solution to the school’s used writing instruments for years.

“I can only imagine the number of pens, highlighters and whiteboard markers that are thrown away each day,” she says. “If these items could be recycled and made into other useable items, not only will this reduce landfill, but it will mean less plastic is needed to be produced. We are very passionate about our recycling here at Chatswood Hills and this initiative will add value to our current program and help us to recycle more materials that we have no option but to throw away.”

Nine-year-old student at Chatswood Hills State School, Charlotte Reimer, adds: “This program will help to reduce the amount of pens being thrown in the rubbish and will help keep our environment healthy. Our environment is something to be proud of!”

To learn more and join the Writing Instruments Recycling Program, visit the TerraCycle website here.

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All images supplied by TerraCycle.

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