Charity schemes to pass on promotional pens that work?

PensWe’ve already covered recycling or reusing dead ones but Trevor has a question about recycling schemes for pens that still work:

Here at the School of Health Studies we get inundated with promotional pens from various medical and drug companies.

Most of these pens never get used and just fill up our desks draws. Is there any way of recycling them so that they can be used in third world schools or something?

I suspect most medical and drug companies aren’t going to pay any attention to a request for “no more pens, thanks” so it makes sense to want to pass them on to someone who’ll use them.

So does anyone know of any schemes to send school supplies to third world countries – or deprived ones closer to home?

(Photo by Zonnekoe)

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22 Responses to “Charity schemes to pass on promotional pens that work?”

  1. Alfonso says:

    I have a small company and we sell promotional items.

    One of our products is a 100% biodegradable pen that may be printed with any logo… once the pen is used up, you may either compost it or bury it in a plant pot. It is great fertilizer!

    That is one idea, it stops new pens from being produced.

    What of the already circulating pens? For starters I suggest we bundle them together and keep real track of the way we use them. Have you EVER used up a pen? We think of them as disposable.

    If the pens are just way too many, give them to a library, school district or university. They’ll come in handy.

    • Marg Drouin says:

      Hi Alfonso. Can you give me the name or website of your company? I work for a company in NH that is going green and this would be a great thing to purchase for the employees for our earth day celebration.

      You can email me at
      Thank you

  2. Trish says:

    I used to put a few in my purse, then, when I’d go to a grocery store and they didn’t have one, I’d use one and leave it.

  3. Alika says:

    At work, my cubicle is near the copy machine. Of course, sitting near the copier means I am frequently asked to loan out pens (which are rarely returned). Thus, I began keeping a jar with all the promotional pens I received as well as random lost pens that I found laying around. If they are not returned, no worries.

  4. Alice says:

    Cuba has amazing medical and education systems, but massive shortages of basic supplies due to US sanctions. Children beg in the streets not for food or money but for pens for school.

    The Cuba Solidarity Campaign sends shipping containers of supplies to Cuba every year, including everything from medical supplies to text books. Get in touch here to ask if they can accept pens, pencils and other stuff to go in their containers – this definitely does reach people in need who will put it to good use.

  5. bella says:

    There are schools with low income families that are struggling to go to school and going with out everything. they cant afford school books text book fees uniform fees or a school bag let alone a jam samwich or breakfast in the morning. others are like me, homeless kids trying to do the right think put ourselfs through school and struggling for just a roof over our heads n to stay alive before you even get to the school books. These kids have a right to have an opportunity to stay at school, get good grades and a job.
    Pens, second hand uniforms or colours simular recycles text, writing pads art suplies folders, everything would be accepted even if you did have to take 2 pages out. It would suprise you how much it would mean to them.

  6. bella says:

    I forgot to mention these are your local state schools and youth hostels.

  7. Mary says:

    Dunno if she still does this, but a librarian in Oxford was collecting them for Zimbabwe:

  8. Jane says:

    Hotels Motels or anywhere they use a lot of pens would be happy to take them i have to go to the auto stores adn get them to donate them after all it is free advertisement for them

  9. alicia says:

    crayons to computers is a place that is all donated items that teachers from poor schools can shop for free!

  10. Anne says:

    We would be very grateful for any pens or stationery supplies for our orphaned children here in Zimbabwe, if you are able to post to BOX CH 1000, Chisipite, Harare Zimbabwe

    • Jason says:

      Anne – do you still need some pens and materials? We are having an office clear out and have boxes of materials that are due to be thrown unless we can find a worthwhile cause to pass them onto. Please let me know soonest and further details…

      Thank you

  11. Samta Kapur says:

    What about pens that dont work anymore. I have a nice collection and dont feel like throwing it away. Please suggest

  12. Gulia says:

    Pens and pencils can be used to hold hair in a bun. They look very cool and exotic this way.

  13. HuntingWabbits says:
    Very good organization. The people who hand these out say the children often don’t need/want the toys, but really appreciate school/hygiene supplies (soap, toothpaste, etc)

  14. Malc says:

    Pens For Kids will happily take any working pens (and pencils, rulers, erasers etc). We ship them to underprivileged children in Africa, to help them in education.

    We have organisations doing this in the UK, USA, Denmark and Portugal, details of all are on

    Pens for Kids is a non-profit organisation, run by unpaid volunteers. We can accept donations, which are used to fund shipping pens, so even if you don’t have any spare pens but still want to help, please look at the website to find out how.

  15. Pat Alker says:

    We fund raise and also collect pens/pencils and small soaps to take out to HIV/Aids orphans and disadvantaged children in Ethiopia. Our last trip was in September and we are now collecting ready for our next trip. If children do not have a pen or pencil it is simply no good them going to school. We would gratefully receive any pens that anybody has. Pat and Philip Alker,

  16. Terrica says:

    You can donate them to churches that do the Christmas shoe boxes for children in different countries.

  17. Pat Alker says:

    Project Dukem – Ethiopia is still collecting pens/pencils.rubbers/rulers/pencil sharpeners/pencil cases all for children in Ethiopia and Kenya. Without a pen there are so many children who cannot go to school. Education is so important to all these deprived children. Their only way out of poverty. Pat Alker, Project Dukem Registered Charity 1149161.

  18. Olia says:

    Give them to colleges.

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