26 January 2010

TerraCycle Upcycling Your Sharpie

Sharpie, Paper Mate and EXPO have formed a partnership with TerraCycle to repurpose used pens, markers and other writing instruments.

Terracycle is a New Jersey-based "upcycling" company that finds new ways to repurpose otherwise throwaway items like juice pouches, chip bags and the like.  According to the company, the partnership "will create the world's first program 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 writing instruments are used most. For every writing instrument collected at a Writing Instrument Brigade collection center, two cents will be paid to a school, community group, charity or non-profit organization of the participant's choice. 

"Keeping one pen or marker out of a landfill may seem like a small contribution, but multiply that by the estimated $5 billion writing instruments sold in the U.S. each year and it is a big opportunity to reduce waste to landfills," said Ben Gadbois, President of Markers, Highlighters, Art and Office Essentials for Newell Rubbermaid Office Products, maker of Sharpie, EXPO and Paper Mate products.

The collected writing instruments will be dissembled and/or reprocessed to make new products.

TerraCycle is also working with other consumer goods manufacturers including 3M, Mars and OfficeMax, to collect and recycle their products.

Founded in 2001 by then 19 year old Princeton University freshman named Tom Szaky, TerraCycle started from Tom's dream to find way a new, more responsible way of doing business that would be good for the planet, good for people, and good for the bottom line.