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Pen and marker recycling available at Hershey Medical Center, College of Medicine

A “Pen Plus” pen and marker collection program has launched at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine in an effort to reduce the number of pens, markers, highlighters and mechanical pencils that end up in landfills.

These tools, while useful in most people’s day-to-day lives, are often unconsciously tossed in the trash when they stop working. Because these items are not biodegradable, they can sit in landfills for years. The program’s goal is to create awareness and thereby increase levels of recycling of used writing utensils.

The Sustainability Council is partnering with Pensavy, an existing program developed by Shriya Prakash, to create awareness about this waste stream problem. Shriya, a local student, met with the Sustainability Council to encourage those on campus to set up collection boxes in their departments or work areas in order to gather these items for recycling. When filled, boxes can be dropped off in the Clinical and Translational Science Institute suite at the College of Medicine (C1742, across from Au Bon Pain) and members of the Sustainability Council will get them to Shriya.

Shriya has been working with local schools and communities to collect these items; she then sends them back to manufacturers, or to artisans who make creative works with them. In the first three months of her program, she collected more than 400 writing utensils.

Accepted Items

Items that can be collected as part of the program are:

  • Pens and pen caps
  • Mechanical pencils
  • Markers and marker caps
  • Highlighters and highlighter caps
  • Permanent markers and permanent marker caps
  • Dry-erase markers and dry-erase marker caps

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