Students push for greener markers

A group of Bay Area students are urging Crayola to create a recycling program for their used plastic markers, but the company doesn’t appear to be budging.

In April, around 40 students at San Rafael’s Sun Valley elementary school created a petition on Change.org that has already received nearly 75,000 signatures.

Land Wilson, a Sun Valley parent, encouraged the students to push Crayola to recycle some of the 500 million markers the company produces every year. The students explained in the petition that were enough markers to wrap around the earth more than three times.

Currently, when a marker dries out or runs out of ink, they just get tossed in a trash can. Ultimately, they get carted off to end up in a landfill.

Dante, 10, said in the petition:

“I want to let you know that I am not a useless little kid. I can make a difference! By telling you to recycle your pens.”

Company spokeswoman Stacy Gabrielle, confirmed that while Crayola does use recycled plastic bottle caps for parts of the markers and solar energy to produce them, there isn’t an environmentally efficient way to recycle used markers. She told SFGate:

“We think it’s a really great idea. If there was an easy solution to do this, we would have done it.”

She added that while the company encourages “children to share their ideas,” they have no plans to offer a recycling program for its markers.

The plastic surrounding the ink in the markers is actually recyclable, but Gabrielle said the company doesn’t recommend consumers try to take apart the markers:

“Because only the marker plastic is recyclable, not the ink reservoir or the tip, we do not recommend that consumers recycle the markers themselves. It would require the removal of the nib and reservoir which could create small parts, a choking hazard to small children.”

Until another solution can be reached, the kids at Sun Valley Elementary continue to brainstorm about better ways to recycle their favorite markers. Wilson told San Rafael Patch:

“I’m so proud of these kids. After learning how many plastic products end up in landfills, incinerators and our oceans, these students decided to take action and ask this major international company to help.”