If you’re an educator who’d like to keep all those markers your kids use out of landfills, take note!
There’s a free recycling program from Crayola that allows students to collect and repurpose used markers from classrooms in K-12 schools across the country and in parts of Canada. The Crayola ColorCycle initiative is designed to help both teachers and students learn about sustainability and make a positive impact on the environment.
To participate, you simply need to sign up your school, collect markers, and send them in. The four easy steps are outlined on the ColorCycle web page.
First, inform your school’s administrators or parent-teacher organization about the program. Any school, kindergarten through 12th grade, in the contiguous 48 United States, is eligible to participate. Some areas of Canada are eligible as well. You can check if your Canadian postal code is covered here. An adult representative can register the school to participate online.
Next, set up a collection site where people can drop off used markers at your school. The markers should then be packed in a cardboard box that has minimal outer markings. Only include markers in the box. All brands of markers are accepted, so they don’t just need to be Crayola markers.
Ensure that each box weighs about 8-10 pounds, and secure it with packing tape. Crayola suggests a minimum of 100 markers and a maximum of 40 pounds per box. The packages should be affixed with a FedEx shipping label, which you can print online. They will be picked up by FexEx Ground, with shipping costs covered by Crayola.
Markers are often not allowed by local community recycling efforts, which more commonly collect paper, plastic, and glass. That makes this program all the more welcome.
So what happens to the markers? According to Crayola, the recyclables are sent to a facility that converts old markers into energy as well as wax compounds for asphalt and roofing shingles.
“The process repurposes the entire marker, regardless of the different kinds of plastics or how they are assembled,” the FAQ says.
One school participating in the program is Geneva Middle School in Geneva, Illinois, where a group of students known as “The Green Team” is collecting markers through the program. They also have a deposit box to collect empty chip bags in school’s cafeteria. The club was organized last year in a sixth-grade science class.
Last month, the club brought their first load of empty chip bags to Gerald Ford Subaru in North Aurora, which has a recycling box for TerraCycle, a private recycling business. The school plans to continue the program when the school year gets underway again.
If your classroom needs new markers, teachers can purchase Crayola Classpacks, which include a color palette of educator-preferred hues, as well as other bulk items at affordable prices.
We hope plenty of schools are signing up this year!