Pen Pail

Recycle used writing instruments!

We all know how to recycle things like paper, cans, and bottles, but what about old pens and used up markers? Although these items are too difficult to recycle via a Single-Stream program, Yale’s Office of Sustainability now makes it easier for you to go beyond the basics of recycling with its Pen Pail program. 

The Office of Sustainability has partnered with TerraCycle, a company that collects hard-to-recycle waste items and makes them into new products like backpacks and trash cans. With more than 63 million people collecting waste in over 20 countries, TerraCycle has diverted billions of units of waste and created over 1,500 different products. You can find these products at stores like Wal-Mart, Whole Foods, and Home Depot.

Although TerraCycle’s Writing Instrument Brigade was closed in November 2016, the Office of Sustainability continues to collect writing instruments at the University. Thanks to staff members in the Yale Library System, a Pens, Pencils and Markets - Zero Waste Box is housed at the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Library, 100 Wall Street, where you can drop your writing instruments. The box is located in the printer/copier area of the upper level of Bass Library. 

Please bring writing instruments directly to Bass Library.

Acceptable waste includes: pens and pen caps, mechanical pencils, markers and marker caps, permanent markets and permanent marker caps

Unacceptable waste includes: paint brushes, colored pencils and wooden pencils

For more information on the program, visit