I called Metro.
We in Portland have a recycling hotline where you can call at any time and ask a real human being whether this or that can be recycled and where. Here’s the number: 503-234-3000. Staffed by humans from 8:30 to 5 on weekdays.
They’ll either tell you exactly where to take an item, or supply you with another number. They suggested I call Far West Fibers, a recycling business that has three area plant locations and three depots where people can take their recycling. (And yes, we do have curbside collection in Portland, but they don’t take everything. We dedicated Portland green-heads routinely sort our other stuff in our garages and schlep it to one of these places in our cars.)
I both called and emailed Far West Fibers to ask if they take pens in their rigid recycling. Both answers came back Yes, we do. Even after I pointed out that most pens have at least two or three different plastics going on, plus metal nibs and sometimes the clips or the whole caps are metal, they still said yes. And they didn’t say anything about taking them apart and dividing up the different materials, either.
I don’t really understand that, but I’m letting go. I made the inquiry — I’m not just throwing things willy nilly into recycling bins for the sorting staff to deal with. I called the professionals and if they’ve given me the wrong information, that’s just going to have to be their problem. I’m very willing to recycle, but good grief, I can’t spend every waking hour of my life on it. I’m just an ordinary person, not a scientist. I have to rely on others for expertise outside my field.