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The Writing Instruments Recycling Programme - FAQ

Recycle your writing instruments with this programme.

Participating locations
748
Waste recycled
3,426,499
Money raised
£41,621.64

Drop off your writing instruments at your nearest public drop-off location

Find your nearest public drop-off location on the interactive map and drop off your writing instruments. To learn more about public drop-off locations, please click here.

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 you have joined The Writing Instruments Recycling Programme and when you are ready to send a shipment, please follow these steps:

  1. Download a free UPS label from your account (Go to "my account", click on the "send us your waste" button and then click on "create free postage label". You will receive your label via email.)
  2. Print out your label
  3. Attach your label to your parcel
  4. Simply book a free pick-up via UPS by calling 03457 877 877 or book online via this link. Alternativley, you can also drop off your parcel at your closest UPS drop-off point, which you can find here

You can download as many labels as you have parcels to send.

You can use any cardboard box to send your waste, however the box must be clean and sturdy. Once you have your box, put your waste directly in it, close it well and stick the prepaid shipping label on the box (the shipment is of course completely free). The UPS recommended maximum box size is a weight of 30kg and the boxes should not be bigger than 70cm x 60cm x 60cm.

If you have not received your points within two months after your shipment was sent, please contact us so that we can investigate it for you.

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 6 months, 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.

TerraCycle® points are credited to the account of the public drop-off location administrators as a reward for their collection efforts. The number of points given is determined by the total weight of the shipment. 1 TerraCycle® point is worth 1 penny.

Once credited, the points can be redeemed into financial donations to the charity or school chosen by the owner of the points. The points must be redeemed on the TerraCycle® website.

At least 1,500 TerraCycle® points will be awarded for shipments weighing 15kg or more. Be careful, the points will only be awarded if the shipment weighs more than 15kg.

To redeem your points as financial donations, a minimum of 1,000 points or £10 is required.

All points redeemed between the 1st of May and the 31st of October will be donated in December. Points redeemed between the 1st of November and the 30th of April will be donated in June.

To redeem your points for the charity or school of your choice, simply log in to your TerraCycle® account and go to the "my charities" tab. Once on this page, TerraCycle® offers 3 ways to choose a charity:

  1. Redeem your points to a TerraCycle® partner charity by clicking on "redeem" and by choosing one of the charities from the drop-down menu.
  2. Add the charity or school of your choice by clicking on "add charity". Please check if this charity is not already registered on our website first by looking for the charity in the search bar at the top of the page. If you cannot find it, please fill in the fields for creating a new charity. Once completed, validate the form and do not forget to send us the bank details through this form to [email protected].
  3. Choose a charitable gift by clicking on "redeem". You will find the list of charitable gifts in the field of the environment, the fight against hunger, education, childhood or prematurity at the bottom of the page. Then simply select the gift and click on "redeem".

If you have chosen to donate to a charity (either by selecting an existing charity or by adding a new one), you must choose the number of points you wish to redeem (as a reminder, you must convert a minimum of 1,000 points).

Check the contents of your cart and click on "checkout" to close the transaction.

If you wish to stop collecting this waste, log in to your account, select the "my recycling programmes" tab and click on the small grey cross to the right of the name of The Writing Instruments Recycling Programme. Please also send an email to [email protected] so we can remove your location from the public drop-off map.