From Green Right Now Reports
When last we left them this past spring, the kids of Sun Valley Elementary in San Rafael, Calif., had petitioned Crayola to take back and recycle their used markers.
It was a straightforward ask by people in the single-digit age range who’d noticed that other companies were taking back goods and probably also that their parents were slinging recyclables to the curb every week. So they spoke candidly to Crayola about the corporation’s markers, which they worried end up in the land fill after they are used.
"I love your markers, but I'd like to tell you it's polluting,” said Zachary, one of the youngsters on the school’s “Green Team” led by teacher Land Wilson.
You can imagine what happened next. With the help of Land, the Green Team kids, ranging from kindergarten through 5th grade, started a petition on Change.org asking Crayola to take back used markers. It became wildly successful. Some 80,000 people signed the petition in support of the kids’ request.
And Crayola…did nothing.
But competitor Dixon Ticonderoga Co., which also makes art markers, sprang into action. The company saw an opportunity, so they developed a take-back plan and announced today that kids may send back any used Prang art markers, free of charge, and Dixon Ticonderoga will recycle them.
"This shows that even one classroom can change the way a global company does business,” said Timothy Gomez, CEO of Dixon Ticonderoga Co., who plans to meet with the students to thank them for inspiring the company’s new recycling program. Dixon Ticonderoga also plans to award the school with year’s supply of Prang Art Markers.
"As a father myself, I think that these children have done an incredible job to get adults to listen – and act upon – their important message," said Gomez in news release. "We salute Change.org for providing these children with a platform to shine a spotlight on their initiative. The students of Sun Valley Elementary certainly got my attention, and I immediately challenged my team to find a way to 100% recycle our Prang Art Markers. Speaking as the CEO of Dixon Ticonderoga, a global company, what these students have accomplished cannot be understated. I can't wait to meet them and to thank them personally."
Teacher Land says the kids are thrilled with their success.
"We didn't expect to get this much attention," he said in a statement. "It's taken us all by surprise. But after learning how many plastic products end up in landfills, incinerators, and our oceans, these students decided to take action and ask this major international company to help. I am so proud of what these students have done."
Wilson says they still hope Crayola will step up and offer a recycling program to consumers by expanding their in-house recycling, which they use for markers that come out misshapen.
No word yet from Crayola on that. Ironically, the company does feature on its website several recycling education ideas aimed at kids.
In its education module, Crayola burbles: “Find out what your school does to recycle. Does it recycle paper, cans or plastic from the cafeteria, or printer cartridges, for example? What community recycling programs are operating?”
It also asks, “How could the recycling efforts be improved in your school or community?”
The kids at Sun Valley are all over that one.
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