Writing instrument brigade: Up-cycling is the new Re-cycling

March 11, 2010

We all know about recycling the basics; paper, aluminum cans and glass bottles, but what about chip bags, tires, or old pens? Although those do not normally fall into the day-to-day recyclable category, Yale’s Office of Sustainability is about to make it easy for you to go beyond the basics of recycling with Up-Cycling!

What is Up-Cycling? While re-cycling processes used products to reconstruct them into something new, up-cycling transforms old products into something completely new.

The Office of Sustainability has partnered with Terracycle, a company that collects used items that might ordinarily be land filled - candy wrappers, yogurt containers, writing instruments - and makes them into new products like backpacks and trash cans. And you can find these products at stores like Wal-Mart, Target and Home Depot.

Yale’s first Up-Cycling initiative will be to collect writing instruments as a member of Terracycle’s “Writing Instrument Brigade.” Sustainability Leaders will distribute the special “Pen Pails,” or collection bins, to offices around campus where you will be able to drop any defunct writing implement, from a Sharpie marker to a ballpoint pen. Instead of throwing them into the trash, bring them to a Pen Pail. For every writing implement Yale collects, Terracycle donates two cents to The United Way of Greater New Haven, making the endeavor an all around win. Yale diverts its waste stream, spends nothing, and earns money for a great cause.

If you are interested in “hosting” a Pen Pail in your office, contact CJ May (cyril.may@yale.edu)