Crayola, Make Your Mark!By Nancy Powell
Recycled water bottles have become pens, tires as shoes and wallets. So what’s next in the horizon of recyclable products? Try Crayola markers. An ingenious idea, to be sure, thought up not by any environmental group of importance, but by “Green Team” volunteers led by Land Wilson of Sun Valley School in San Rafael up in the Bay Area and a group of first- through fifth-grade students. The first thing that popped into these kids’ heads while discussing the topic of plastic waste was the volume of Crayola plastic markers that end up in dumpsters.
“I love your markers, but I’d like to tell you it’s polluting,” writes 9-year old Zachary. “So can I please send some of your markers back? I love your product, but hate pollution.”
Consider this fact from the “Make Your Mark” petition to the CEO and president of Crayola on Change.org: Crayola manufactures and markets half a billion markers each year to millions of kids around the world. At Sun Valley in the last eight years alone, Wilson cites his children have gone through 500 of these plastic items. You think about this happening to children in all elementary schools nationwide and pretty soon there lies a colorful ocean of used plastics tubes inhabiting our landfills, incinerators and quite possibly oceans, say the Sun Valley students on their petition, which so far blossomed into 74,101 signatures since it’s May 10 debut.
The solution, say the kids, is for Crayola to establish a “take-back” program; allowing kids to use prepaid return envelopes to return markers to the manufacturer or at drop-off at retailers and school campuses.
While championing the cause within their own ranks, Crayola spokeswoman Stacy Gabrielle cites the company’s inability to offer such a simple solution. According to a statement Gabrielle made to MSNBC, she states that Crayola cannot “take back and make new markers from used ones and provide consumers with a high quality marker that meets our rigorous safety standards for children.”
Hmmm, Crayola, what about the idea of refillable markers, like refillable pens? Or does that deviate too much from the quality factor? Damn, if kids don’t say the darndest things!
You too can sign the Sun Valley School’s petition at www.change.org/petitions/crayola-make-your-mark-set-up-a-marker-recycling-program.