Schoolchildren urge Crayola to rethink recycling

Sunday, May 20, 2012 | 3:59 p.m. CDT; updated 3:26 p.m. CDT, Monday, May 21, 2012

KANSAS CITY — A group of California grade school students wants Crayola to start a recycling program for spent plastic markers, but the company doesn't appear ready to make such a move.

About 40 students at Sun Valley elementary school in San Rafael, Calif., have been promoting an online petition aimed at nudging Crayola, a subsidiary of Kansas City-based Hallmark, into developing a "take-back" program for used-up markers.

Principal Julie Harris said Wednesday that the student group has been meeting at lunchtime for a couple weeks to discuss the project and monitor the petition's progress. The petition on had more than 60,000 signatures by Saturday.

The students plan to present the petition to Crayola, Harris said.

"I don't think they thought they were going to get there so quickly," she said. "They were hoping the Crayola company would take notice of it."

Crayola has, but spokeswoman Stacy Gabrielle said in an email that while the crayon maker encourages "children to share their ideas," the company has no plans to offer a recycling program for its markers.

She said Crayola does not have "the facilities or a process" for a recycling program, but that the markers' caps can be recycled at facilities that take that type of plastic. She also said because of the contents of the markers, the company doesn't recommend recycling them.

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

Crayola is, however, "very committed to doing our part to take care of the environment," Gabrielle said. She said Crayola uses solar energy to manufacture about 1 billion of the 3 billion crayons it makes each year and its markers are made with recycled plastic.

Land Wilson, the Sun Valley school parent who helped the students with the petition, said Thursday he's not discouraged by the company's response and hopes the company will reconsider.

"We're moving forward," Wilson said. "We love Crayola. This is all a very positive thing. ... (The kids) want to keep using their products, but they want to be green."

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.