How to Recycle Plastic Pens

Even though Recycling Revolution states that recycling plastic uses less energy than burning the non-renewable resource, small everyday items such as plastic pens are often overlooked in the process. Like all plastics, pens are made from fossil fuels and may be accepted by a local recycling company where they are turned into products such as egg cartons, plastic toys and shower curtains.

Determine if the Pen can be Recycled

Plastic pens are useful even after the ink has run dry.
  1. Examine the plastic pen and locate a triangle that is formed out of three arrows with a number printed in the middle of it, one through seven.

  2. Call your local waste management company or county to determine if they recycle the particular plastic your pen is made of, determined by the number in the triangle.

  3. Sort the pen out from your regular trash into a proper recycling container if the company in charge of recycling in your area takes that number of plastic.

Upcyle when a Number is Not Present

  1. Take your plastic pen apart by unscrewing the pieces in order to upcyle (repurpose when recycling is not an option) it. Discard the tube from inside the pen that held the ink along with the writing tip.

  2. Use the outer tube portion of the pen for a variety of things such as a perch in the corner of a birdcage or as a protective casing over sharp kitchen utensils such as metal skewers.

  3. Save small connecting pieces and place in a container. When you have collected enough they may be painted or left as is to use as beads for activities such as kids craft projects or homemade Christmas tree decorations.

  4. Store the pen tip in a container and use it as a metallic stud decoration on clothing items by sewing it on a craft project.

  5. Place an old broken crayon into a pen cap that does not have a clip on it to make it easier for a child to grasp the crayon or place pen caps with clips with your laundry supplies to use a clothes hanger.


  • When disassembling a plastic pen, be sure to keep the small parts away from small children. The connecting pieces and tip of the pen especially pose a choking hazard.

About the Author

A full-time home educator and mother, Paisley Parmer is a Central Florida native. Parmer writes education-related articles with forays into travel and family-related topics. Her work has been published on various websites.