Southern California environment news and trends

California students petition Crayola for marker recycling

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Kids go through a lot of markers. From school projects to decorating notebook covers with band logos, those finger-staining mainstays of classic American school supplies are as ubiquitous as No. 2 pencils.

For some 40 grade-schoolers in San Rafael, California, the sheer volume of student marker usage was the inspiration behind a new petition urging Crayola to develop a recycling program for used plastic markers.

"The idea evolved from conversations with kids about plastic waste and they immediately identified with how many Crayola plastic markers they had thrown away," said Land Wilson, a parent of one of the Sun Valley School students behind the petition to msnbc.com. "We simply want Crayola to establish an easy take back program that kids can partake in  -- i.e. prepaid return envelopes with their products or dropoff locations at retail outlets and schools."

As reported by Associated Press, the petition has collected more than 60,000 signatures on change.org, and the students plan on taking it directly to Crayola, which is a subsidiary of Hallmark.

The success of the petition has already caught the attention of Crayola, with spokesperson Stacy Gabrielle telling AP the company currently has no plans of establishing such a program.

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

Gabrielle did add that the plastic marker tips are recyclable, and emphasized Craolya’s commitment to the environment, such as one billion of the three billion markers they produce annually being made from recycled plastic.

While there are no plans for a student boycott of Crayola, Wilson sees it as a tremendous opportunity for the company and students alike.

"We don't want to boycott because we love Crayola," he said. "The environmental problems children hear about daily is long and they need a champion. What better champion than a company that they already know and love."

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