April 16, 2024, by sustainablenottingham

Pen recycling scheme saves 30kg pens from landfill so far

The University of Nottingham’s (UoN) pen recycling scheme is reducing waste whilst helping local schools.

Led by the Technicians Sustainability Working Group (TSWG), this initiative aims to reduce waste and minimise the university’s environmental footprint.

The latest contribution from UoN to this initiative includes a batch of 15kg of spent pens, bringing the total amount diverted from landfill to an impressive 30kg.

The journey towards achieving this milestone began in early 2021 when collection efforts commenced at the Medical School. However, it wasn’t until late 2022, with the collective effort of the TSWG, that collection boxes were strategically placed across campus. It took approximately a year to accumulate the initial 15kg, which was then sent to Alderman Pounder School in Beeston.

It took another year to gather the next 15kg with Willoughby School being the next school to benefit form the scheme.

Collection bins are now available in all main libraries across University Park, facilitating convenient drop-off points for contributors. Additionally, members of the TSWG diligently collect and dispatch pens from the Sutton Bonington campus to the Medical School, where collections are combined and weighed until reaching the minimum threshold of 15kg required by Terracycle for recycling.

Once collected, the writing instruments are cleaned and separated by material type. The fibres and plastics are recycled into raw formats that manufacturers use to make new products, thereby closing the recycling loop and promoting a circular economy.

A statement of gratitude from the Willoughby School community champion highlights the impact of such collaborative efforts:

“Willoughby Primary School, nestled on the border between Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, extends heartfelt thanks to the University of Nottingham and its ‘Friends of Willoughby School’ for their unwavering support. Together with residents of Willoughby, over 234kg of waste has been recycled through the Terracycle program, generating funds for educational activities and contributing to the school’s eco-credentials. Your collective efforts have made a significant difference, and we are grateful for your commitment to sustainability.”

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