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How do I dispose of Marking Pens?

In this article, we will be exploring what to think about when the need to dispose of marking pens arises.

This is a picture of an incinerator facility

Hazmat Concerns

The only real hazardous materials concerns one should have when disposing of marking pens comes from the solvent content. Xylenes and Alcohols are flammable. One should not throw them in a garbage can. The best thing one should do is notify their local household chemicals handling service and send the pens off to be incinerated. If you somehow end up throwing them in the trash can by mistake and they end up in the landfill, the likely scenario is that they wait around 20 years as the solvents evaporate and you will end up having something like solidified paint in the barrel. The aluminum or the plastic will break down over the regular couse of time it takes to do that.

This is a picture of a landfill

Environmental Concerns

Obviously, the best thing to do with our aluminums and plastics is to set them aside to be recycled. When the recycling is picked up and taken to a sorting facility, it is up to the policies of that facility to determine what gets recycled or not. A marking pen containing paints or inks would have to be emptied, cleaned, or crushed before the metals or plastics can be reclaimed. Many facilities will not tolerate the costs and time of that process and send products like those to the incinerator even if present in the recycling facility for recycling. At that point it is up to the incinerator facility to equip itself with the correct scrubbers on their steam towers as everything they put in it cannot be helped but to turned into gas and dust. Different localities have different laws and policies pertaining to this.

It's always best to recycle when possible. Talk to your local authorities about how they handle the different recyclable materials and sort your waste accordingly.


If you have interest in minimizing waste and the need for the processes mentioned earlier, we recommend using products that are durable and have a long lasting usability. Our pens use a valve action mechanism that seals the contents from the barrel from the outside and will not stop working until the last drop. Our pens are all filled to capacity as well. For the longest lasting, environmentally contentious marker purchase, go with our valve action markers. We hear reports of people using our pens from 50 years ago that still work! Xylene inks and paints perfectly sealed last forever, even when inked up. Less markers in the landfill and less sent to the incinerator!

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