It’s as inevitable as death and taxes: your markers, however awesome and juicy with color, are going to dry out eventually. Plastic markers are destined for landfills, and with 56.6 million kids attending primary and secondary school in the US every year, the numbers are staggering.
Even if just half of them buy an eight count box of markers for school, that’s 226.4 million markers bought, used, and inevitably thrown into landfills to not-decompose for the next 500 years. Every. Single. Year.
How to Recycle Plastic Markers
The numbers are mind boggling, and because of the way they’re made, markers aren’t exactly recycling-ready. A special process is needed to take them apart to properly break down the materials for recycling, and for most consumers and plastic recycling plants, it’s beyond their capabilities.
Crayola has a little-known program though that’s offering a simple solution: group marker recycling.
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I was so excited when I learned about color cycle, a recycling program from @crayola Instead of throwing away dried out markers collect them in a box, print off a free shipping label from Crayola, mail them, and Crayola will reuse the markers! Go to Crayola.com and look up their Color Cycle program! • • • 📷 @rwalker619 #crayola #colorcycle #artteacher #artclass #artteachersofinstagram #elementaryartteacher #artrocks #primaryart #primaryartteacher #primaryartclass #art #artlife
Crayola’s ColorCycle program collects markers at the end of their lifespan at the source, offering collection boxes to schools. Though the program isn’t open to the public, anyone can bring in any brand of marker to a participating school and put it in the box. The ColorCycle program is available for K-12 schools to participate in.
Other Ways to Recycle Art Supplies
If your school isn’t participating in ColorCycle yet, there’s actually another option for recycling plastic markers, and it’s with our amazing friends over at Terracycle.
Terracycle is an incredible company built around one simple premise — no waste, ever. They’ve devised specialized programs and processes for recycling just about everything under the sun, from cigarette butts to cosmetic containers. Do art supplies make the list? You bet they do.
Here’s how it works:
- You order an art supply recycling box from Terracycle in the appropriate size, depending on volume.
- Set up the box in your home, or work with your local school, daycare, or preschool to put it somewhere where the general public can use it.
- Fill up the box and ship it back to Terracycle — they’ll take it from there.
To offset the costs of the box, work with others in your community or school programs to pitch in together on a large container from Terracycle. If enough people contribute, you could be looking at paying as little as a few dollars to recycle hundreds of pens, markers, and mechanical pencils.
With Terracycle’s program, every art tool is disassembled and reused, reentering the supply chain as raw materials for the next wave of manufactured goods.
How many markers can you save from the landfills this year? Share this post on your wall publicly, and tag your local school or organization in it, along with @AvocadoMattress, @Terracycle, and @Crayola to get the conversation started!