How many disposable highlighters do you own? One? Two? Five? I was shocked when I stopped to count. I have ten (yes, 10!) highlighters within arm’s reach at my desk! Highlighters, markers, and pens are everywhere. Every office. Every home. Every student’s backpack. And for many of us, these bright, colorful markers are not only a good thing to have, but also necessary when working through a lot of text.
BUT, what do we do with them when they have lost their color? I did a search and it looks like you could try a DIY hack to make them last longer or make a craft out of them (please don’t!), but most of them will end up in the TRASH. The landfill. (The junk drawer?)
Related Post: Do Christians Have to Be Green & Eco-friendly?
Buying and eventually throwing out pens, markers, and highlighters is horrible for the environment. So what do we do with all of them once they’re “dead”?
What to Do with Dry Highlighters?
First, don’t buy them. Really, stop buying disposable, plastic highlighters. Even the ones made out of recycled plastic, if you don’t have a recycling plan for them before you buy. In the US, your recycling options are limited. The ONLY program I found was through TerraCycle and you’ll have to pay around $100 for a small recycling box. The good news is that the cost of the recycling box includes return shipping once it’s full, so if you team up with your office, school, church or other organization, it is a good option if you’re willing to take up the cause. (If you’re in Canada and live near a Staples store, give them a call. Some Canadian Staples stores offer in-store TerraCycle boxes that are free for customer drop-off.)
Buy Smart and Choose Eco-friendly Highlighters Instead
If you NEED highlighters, buy smart. Look for options that are designed to be eco-friendly and made with sustainable materials. In my search, I found quite a few that are made with recycled plastic (Onyx and Green Highlighters) and refillable (Pentel Handy-line S Highlighter), but there is only one imported from Austria that I actually recommend. They are designed to be completely biodegradable, sustainable, and as zero-waste as possible.
Darlene’s TOP Eco-friendly Highlighter Choice: Eco-highlighters by Stubby Pencil
These highlighters include no plastic and have nothing to recycle. They are a little pricey, but in my opinion, completely worth it. Not only do they do their job well, they are made from sustainable natural basswood and are completely compostable down to their colorful shavings!
These fat, easy-to-grip pencils color boldly and are available in six bright colors, feel great in your hand and despite their price tag, make you feel good knowing you can use as many as you’d like and never add to the millions of highlighters in landfills and oceans. Even their packaging is labeled as biodegradable and compostable which is even more appealing to those of us who are trying to be eco-conscious.
How Do ECO Highlighter Pencils Perform?
You can use Eco-Highlighters them in the same way you would disposable highlighters, but because they are made with what seems to be a waxier material (similar to a crayon, but much harder), you can get softer or deeper color depending on the pressure or number of color passes you make. I’ve seen this in reviews as a negative, but from my experience, I think it’s awesome. I can create thin or BOLD lines with the same pencil. They also make good devotional and bible highlighters, since they don’t bleed through the pages.
If you are like me and use tons of highlighters for work, home and school, it’s time to ditch the one time use, toxic highlighters. Give Eco-Highlighters by Stubby Pencil a try and if you do, please drop a comment below telling us your experience or share your favorite eco-friendly highlighter alternative instead!