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How to Recycle Markers?

how to recycle markers

If you consider yourself a rather serious artist, then you probably go through a lot of markers on a regular basis. Now, are you worried about the impact you are causing on the environment because of how often you throw away your empty markers?

Is this why you want to learn how to recycle markers? Are you curious if you can recycle or reuse your old empty markers so you do not have to throw them away? If this is so, then you will be delighted to know that there are ways that you can recycle and maybe even reuse your old markers, and this article will teach you about them.

Step-by-Step Guide

Through the manufacturer’s recycling program

Can markers be recycled? You cannot just send them straight to the recycling center as is, but there are other ways. Most of the big marker and pen manufacturers have their own recycling programs and you can use them for free. The great thing about this is that they accept all markers and pens, even those from other companies.

What to prepare:

  • The markers that you need to recycle
  • Packaging materials – This can either be a box or a packaging envelope
  • Shipping labels

Detailed steps:

Step 1: Gather your recyclables. Gather all the markers that you want to recycle and put them inside a suitable container. You can use an old shoebox or anything big enough to contain the markers.

Step 2: Secure the package. You will need to wrap the box with some tape. The tape should be just enough to keep it from opening during transit. Keep in mind that you are trying to save the environment, so you should not go overboard with the tape.

Step 3: Print out a shipping label. It is free to use the company’s recycling program and even postage is already prepaid for the customers. Just go to the company’s website, navigate to their recycling program page, and then download and print the shipping label.

Step 4: Drop the package at the post office. Once you have attached the shipping label to the package, you can either print it on sticker paper or just tape it on the package. Drop the package off at the nearest post office and they will send it to the manufacturer for processing.

Dropping the plastics off at the recycling center

If you want to use your local recycling facility, you can. However, you will need to process the markers first before you can drop them off.

What to prepare:

  • Old markers and pens
  • A box cutter or sharp knife
  • A pair of needle nose pliers
  • Rubber gloves
  • Safety glasses

Detailed steps:

Step 1: Prepare your workstation. If you will be recycling a lot of markers, you may want to spread a couple of sheets of newspaper on your work surface as this can get messy.

Step 2: Wear your safety gear. You will be cutting through plastic markers, so you had better be safe while doing so. Wear your safety glasses in case shards of plastic fly toward your face.

Step 3: Proceed to dismantle the markers. Unfortunately, the only part of the markers that is recyclable is the barrel. This means you need to cut off the ends using a knife and then pull out the cotton core and nib using needle nose pliers.

Step 4: Dispose of the cores and nibs. You will need to dispose of the ink cores and felt nibs separately, so toss them into the non-biodegradable bin.

Step 5: Recycle the plastic barrels. You do not have to clean the barrels. They will be doing it anyway in the recycling center. Just go to the nearest recycling center and toss the barrels into the plastics bin.

Repurposing old markers

repurposing old markers

One of the best ways to repurpose old markers is to turn them into blending pens.

What to prepare:

  • Old markers
  • Replacement nibs
  • A syringe
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Bits of cotton
  • Pliers
  • Small table clamp, if available

Detailed steps:

Step 1: Pull out the old nib. Hold the marker securely in one hand and with the other, pull the old nib using a pair of pliers.

Step 2: Disassemble the pen body. If you have one, hold the pen body in a small table clamp. Then using a pair of pliers, pull out one end of the pen body. Be careful not to break the plastic. Just put enough pressure to hold the plastic in place.

Step 3: Pull out the old cotton core. Using a pair of tweezers, pull out the old cotton core. Dispose of it properly. Wash the body of the marker to remove any leftover ink.

Step 4: Fill the body with cotton. Using the tweezers again, pack the inside of the marker body with cotton. Compress as much cotton as you can fit inside the cylinder.

Step 5: Install a new nib on the tip. You may need to trim the end of the new nib a bit using a hobby knife to make it fit. Make sure that the nib fits snuggly.

Step 6: Fill the marker with alcohol. Using a syringe, fill the marker with alcohol (and a bit of water). Make sure that the cotton is saturated completely until it cannot hold anymore.

Step 7: Replace the cap and nib. Carefully replace the endcap of the marker and the nib. Make sure that it fits tightly and that no alcohol is leaking out. Turn the marker with the nib facing down to make the alcohol flow down to the nib. Use as you would any regular color pen blender.

Places You Can Bring Your Pens for Recycling

Where to recycle markers if there are no recycling facilities near you? The good news is that there are other places where you can possibly bring your old markers for recycling, including:

Public libraries

Marker companies typically partner with public libraries to teach kids about the value of recycling. Visit your public library and check if they have a recycling bin for old pens and markers, and while you are there, check out a book or two.

In schools

Just like with libraries, pen companies also have partnerships with public schools to teach students about recycling. Also, because schools are some of the biggest consumers of pens and markers, it is only fitting that they have their own marker recycling bins.

In malls

You can also find recycling bins exclusively for markers and pens inside most malls, usually inside stores that sell school supplies and in some bookstores.


If you are looking for ways how to recycle markers, you can rest assured that you have several options. You can send it back to the manufacturer through their in-house recycling program. You can also prepare and send the plastics to your local recycling center or repurpose the markers for other uses.

There are many ways you can reduce the amount of waste your household produces, and even if you are just starting with old markers, you are at least starting right.

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