Inkjet Cartridges Recycled into Pens

January 18, 2010 3 Comments

Close the Loop, a recycler of Lexmark International’s inkjet cartridges, came up with a brilliant and useful way to reduce wastes: convert inkjet cartridges to ink pens.

In the past year and a half, the company has been working with Lexmark to develop the writing tool in its Northern Kentucky branch. The goal is to make the pen product available in the market by middle of this year.

Close the Loop also operates in Australia. It is hired by various printer companies to recycle inkjet and toner cartridges. The company sorts the used printer cartridges to components like metal, polymers, and ink. Among these, the ink poses the greatest concern because the Close the Loop has been storing inks for a long time while trying to think of ways to make these useful. The company was hit by a brilliant idea when one of its leaders asked if the ink can be used in a pen. Initially, the reaction of the other staffs was no since printer ink is a combination of various colors but when it was tested, the idea to use it in a pen worked.

Now, Close the Loop has set out to find ways to recycle not only the ink but also some of the plastics and metal wastes to make these bodies of pens. After several months of work, the recycled pen was finally accomplished. It is made from 84% recycled materials and the company is still working on it to make it 100% recycled.

The company is now looking for retail partners for their pen products. The initial outcome looked like this (bearing the Lexmark name since these were made from Lexmark waste materials):


But the design might change since the company is also looking for a partner to enhance the design. The prices for the said pen products have not yet been disclosed but according to Jim Tocash, Vice President for Close the Loop in Kentucky, pricing will be near those of roller-type pens.

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