Crayola's COLORCYCLE recycling program at work. Image Credit: Crayola

Crayola Is Transforming Used Markers Directly Into Clean Energy

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Crayola is launching a nationwide used-marker recycling program in which the used markers will be directly transformed into energy. The COLORCYCLE program, as it’s been dubbed, will give students throughout the country the option of recycling any type of used marker through an in-school collection program. The markers that are collected will then be used, in combination with a “unique technology,” to create a usable fuel.

Crayola's COLORCYCLE recycling program at work. Image Credit: Crayola
Crayola’s COLORCYCLE recycling program at work.
Image Credit: Crayola

Crayola actually already has a number of other related recycling and clean energy programs. Other initiatives similar to COLORCYCLE include: utilizing solar energy for production, incorporating recycled plastics into their products, and using reforested wood for their colored pencils.

As far as the aim of the program, in their own words:

Crayola conducted extensive research into various new and emerging technologies that would allow the company to repurpose its markers and found the most efficient and beneficial solution at this time is the plastic to energy process, which allows the company to repurpose the entire marker.

As part of the “COLORCYCLE” program, Crayola developed a unique offering of classroom lesson plans that have been designed to help teachers educate their students on the important role sustainability plays in the world. The lesson plans engage students in environmental solutions, teaching them how to protect the planet in new and relevant ways, while also encouraging them to take environmental responsibility into their own hands.

Interested schools can find out more about the COLORCYCLE program — and register for it — at Crayola’s site. After registering, “participating schools will have immediate access to the classroom lesson plans, and can begin collecting any used markers,” Crayola writes. “In-school program coordinators will then be able to print out Crayola funded pre-paid FedEx shipping labels for delivery of the collected markers for conversion into usable fuel.”

COLORCYCLE Marker Program: Did You Know?

– One box of eight (8) recycled markers creates enough energy to prepare a breakfast that consists of brewing a pot of coffee, frying an egg, and making two pieces of toast.

– 308 markers produces 1 gallon of fuel, which is enough to power an SUV (consider 15 MPG) for 15 miles.

– If a classroom recycles 193 markers, that is enough to move a city bus (consider 5 MPG) for three miles.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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5 thoughts on “Crayola Is Transforming Used Markers Directly Into Clean Energy

  • This is nothing but a pure PR stunt. If you add up all the time and effort of people collecting and sorting these spent markers, it would be one of the most expensive sources of energy. It is done to appease the minds of the folks who have the notion that a waste is a terrible thing to mind.

  • Far better to be done with the rotten markers entirely.

    Kids do better with crayons anyway, and when they’re used up there’s nothing left but a scrap of paper.

    Schools and teachers have been manipulated into specifying big sets of plastic-bodied markers in every year’s stationery kits. Parents, just say no!

  • They are incinerated I guess? Probably not something a Lean Six Sigma practitioner would recommend with all the labor and transport (fuel/energy) required…

    I agree that crayons are the better alternative. More of a sustainability-themed naturalistic approach. Harder to ruin clothes and teaches a bit of a skill not learnable with markers.

  • What they’re really saying is, “Trust us, incinerating is a good thing, and we’re too lazy to explain the thought process that brought us to this conclusion. Just trust us, even though we’re too lazy to really innovate and create a better way.” It sounds to me like their process engineers, as well as their PR folks, need to go back to school.

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