BIC program ticks sustainability boxes with national recycling for pens, highlighters
Sector > Quality > NQF and Policy Changes > BIC program ticks sustainability boxes with national recycling for pens, highlighters

BIC program ticks sustainability boxes with national recycling for pens, highlighters

by Freya Lucas

August 29, 2019

A new Australian recycling program will make all brands of pens and markers 100 per cent recyclable, providing another way for early childhood education and care (ECEC) services to meet their sustainability requirements under the National Quality Framework. 


A partnership between stationary company BIC and recycler TerraCycle was launched yesterday, encouraging ECEC settings, schools, offices and communities across the country to collect used pens, markers and other writing instruments to be recycled, saving the planet and supporting charity and education at the same time. 


The introduction of the program in Australia builds on impressive results for the same program in Europe, where 40 million pens have been kept from landfills across Europe to date.


To participate, Australian ECEC sites need to visit the TerraCycle website to sign up and join the program, then start collecting used writing instruments in any available cardboard box. 


Once the box is full, they can download a free shipping label from their TerraCycle account and drop the box off at Australia Post. From the beginning of September, collectors will also be able to drop off their used writing instruments at any participating Officeworks store for recycling.


TerraCycle will then sort, shred, and melt the items down into plastic pellets to be used in the manufacture of new products such as garden beds, park benches and even playgrounds. 


For every kilogram of writing instruments sent to TerraCycle, collectors will earn $1 towards the Australian school or charity of their choice. Globally, more than $45 million has been raised for schools and charities through TerraCycle’s free programs.


Mark O’Sullivan, General Manager BIC Asia-Pacific said “at BIC our commitment to reducing our environmental footprint is ingrained in our values, so we are thrilled to be able to provide Australians with a free solution for recycling writing instruments at the end of their life”


“Our program with TerraCycle also reinforces BIC’s commitment to education. Educating current and future generations about sustainability is an important focus for us, and our TerraCycle partnership not only allows us to do this, but also provides the opportunity to use our recycled materials to give back to local communities in the form of parks and playground equipment.” 


Speaking for TerraCycle Australia, Jean Bailliard, noted the company’s commitment to “educating Australians on the importance of resource conservation. With the support of leading brands like BIC, we are able to teach both children and adults the value of recycling products they use every day at school or at work, that would otherwise end up in landfill.”


Sydney consumer, Tara Edney, welcomed the program, saying she had been saving used pens “for years” hoping for something like this to become available. 


“I have a collection of old pens and markers stacking up at home and reached out to TerraCycle hoping they could point me in the right direction. There are so many of these items disposed of each and every day. If we can get schools, hospitals, and businesses on board to recycle them instead, then we can all move towards a more sustainable future together,” Ms Edney said.


To learn more, or to join the Writing Instruments Recycling Program, please see here

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