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The Writing Instruments Recycling Programme - FAQ

Recycle your writing instruments with this programme.

Participating locations
Waste recycled
Money raised

Unfortunately the programme is currently full and we are unable to accept new applicants.

Due to logistical reasons, at this time we cannot operate the free recycling programmes in the Isle of Man or Channel Islands. The TerraCycle® Operations Team are looking into different logistical solutions to start the free recycling programmes in these locations and we are hoping to have a solution soon. We apologise for any inconvenience.

In this programme all writing instruments (expect for wooden pencils and chalk) are accepted : any brand of pen, felt tip, highlighter, marker, correction fluid pot, correction tape, mechanical pencil and eraser pen (cap included) regardless of their composition (plastic, metal).

Please note that we do not accept glue sticks, erasers, rulers or other cutting objects that could disturb the recycling process. Check the full list of the accepted waste in this detailed poster.

Once accepted onto the Writing Instruments Recycling Programme, you can print the free shipping labels by signing into your TerraCycle account. Go to “My Account”. Click on the “Send us your Waste” button and then on “Get Shipping Label”. You will then receive the label via email. Simply print and attach it to your shipment.

As for your box, the maximum dimensions are up to 419 cm in length and girth combined and up to 270 cm in length. Once you have found a suitable box, put your writing instruments in it, seal the box and tape your pre-paid shipping label on the package.


Once the above steps are complete, arrange a pick up with UPS by calling 03457 877 877. Or if you prefer you can drop your package off at the nearest UPS access point (as long as your package doesn’t exceed 20 kg in weight). You can find your nearest UPS access point via their website.

If two months after you have sent your waste you have not received your TerraCycle points, do not hesitate to contact us. We will then look into what has happened with your shipment. 

When the used writing instruments are received at our warehouse, they are weighed: provided your shipment reaches the minimum weight you are awarded your TerraCycle points.

The writing instruments are then shredded and recycled : the different materials (metal, plastic, fibre) are separated. The small pieces of plastic are then recycled into new products like park benches.

You have to send us a shipment at least once every year, if we do not receive any package from you during that period, you will be removed from the programme in order to enable other schools that are patiently on the waiting list to join the programme.
If you are removed from the programme, you will receive an email to let you know about it, and you will have one week to join the programme again by clicking on the button “Join Programme for Free” if you do have pens ready to send in.

For each shipment of writing instruments that weighs more than 15 KG, you will receive TerraCycle points. Each 10g of weight (the average weight we use for a pen) is worth 1 TerraCycle point, so 15 kg of writing instruments is worth approximatively 1,500 TerraCycle points. 100 TerraCycle points is worth £1.

In order to redeem your TerraCycle points as a cash donation for the school, charity or non-profit of your choice, you must have a minimum of 1,000 points, which is equivalent to £10 worth.

All cash donations redeemed between 1st May and 31st October will be sent out in December. All cash donations redeemed between 1st November and 30th April will be sent out in June.
If you want to redeem your TerraCycle points for a school, charity or non-profit, simply sign in your account and go to “My Charities”. Once you are on the page, you have 3 ways to choose your charity :

1) Redeem your points for a charity partner with TerraCycle by clicking on “Redeem”, then choosing one of the charity in the drop-down menu.

2) Add the charity of your choice by clicking on “Add a charity”. Check if the latter is not already registered in our website by looking for the charity in the search bar at the top of the page. If you cannot find it, then fill in the fields to create your charity. Once done, submit the form and do not forget to send us the bank details of the charity by mail : [email protected]

3) Choose a charity gift by clicking on “Redeem”. You will find a list of charity gifts in different fields. You only have to select a gift and to click on “Redeem”.

If you have decided to donate to a charity (either an existing one, either the one you added), you have to decide the amount of points you wish to redeem (keep in mind that you must have a minimum of 1,000 points to redeem them).

Check the content of your cart, then click on “Checkout” to finish your transaction.


To unsubscribe, the drop-off point administrator should log into their account on the TerraCycle website, select “My account” and then “My Recycling Programmes“ and click the grey X to the right of the Writing Instruments programme. 

IMPORTANT: we ask that the drop-off point administrator informs TerraCycle UK Customer Support that they wish to stop collecting so we can remove the drop-off location address from the interactive map.