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

The “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 a program developed by Shriya Prakash, the daughter of a Penn State Health Information Services employee. 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.

Shriya has been working with local schools and communities to collect these items. In fall 2020, Shriya packed up more than 400 writing utensils and sent them at no cost to TerraCycle.

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

Collection points

Locations of Pen Plus collection boxes are listed here. For details on setting up a collection box, email the Sustainability Council at

Members of the Sustainability Council will ensure that all collected writing implements get to Shriya.

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