Fix It: Ballpoint Pens

Fix Those Pens, Photo: Liesl Clark

By Liesl Clark

We had a few hundred pens to test after having collected them from boxes bound for a dumpster. Sure, we had saved them from the landfill, but did they work? Most did, but the 30 or so that wouldn’t write just needed a little nudge. The roller ball was locked in place by dried-up ink or simply from neglect and we decided to put an age-old wives tale to the test. If you put the tip of a ballpoint pen in a flame for a split second it heats up the ball and gets it moving again. Moving parts are all that’s needed when you know there’s still ink in that Bic. Here’s how we did it:


I had 2 excellent lab testers to do the job. The result? Thirty pens saved!

If your pen is truly out of ink, you still don’t have to throw it away. We have more reuse ideas for you at our Trash Backwards app, where everything in your home can be put back to use, upcycled, or recycled:

Click Through For Reuse Ideas for Your Non-Functioning Pen at Trash Backwards

Click Through For Reuse Ideas for Your Non-Functioning Pen at Trash Backwards

We’re on a mission to reduce the amount of pens we see washing up on our beaches, so this trash fix-it felt really good. If you’re interested in reducing your pen impact, read our blog post about it. Meanwhile, if you have a trick for fixing your defunct ballpoint pens, drop us a note.

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Categories: DIY, Fix It, Trash Pile - All Our Stuff

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