Recycling Plastic Markers

My daughter, Hannah, is almost 5 years old and she loves to draw. She’ll use whatever’s on hand but her favourite drawing tool, by far, is a marker. I can see why – they have the most vivid colours and they don’t become dull with use. As long as you remember to put the tops back on they hold their own for quite some time.

I have concerns with markers, though. For one thing, markers are all made of plastic. This means that when we’re done with them they head to the landfill where they’ll spend tens of thousands of years. Not a pretty thought. It’s even less pretty when you consider the rate at which my daughter can plow through them, especially with the help of her younger brother who likes to open the lids and bite the tops off. Between my two kids a new pack of markers typically lasts less than a month in my house before each and every marker is dead.

I am not the only parent who has this concern. Some readers of the blog Fake Plastic Fish wrote letters to Crayola to encourage the company to accept used markers for recycling. Another reader started a Facebook group petitioning Crayola to recycle markers. And another blogger over at Recycle Your Day has written about the campaign to recycle markers as well.

If you’re also concerned about plastic markers, what can you do?

  • Join the Facebook group.
  • Write a letter to the company that manufactures your favorite markers and request that they accept old markers for recycling, and / or make a re-fillable marker.
  • Talk, blog and tweet about recycling markers.
  • As consumers, our opinions matter. If enough of us have the same concerns then we can be certain that companies will take notice. After all, they depend on us to survive. By working together, we can raise awareness and help to make a better world for our children to color in.

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    Amber writes more about her life with kids at her blog, Check her out!

    3 Responses to Recycling Plastic Markers
    1. Leslie @LaMamaNaturale
      January 20, 2010 | 3:48 pm

      Yay! Well said!! Thanks for linking up and spreading the word. :) Cheers~

    2. Noelle
      January 25, 2010 | 12:58 am

      Hi Amber.
      Great idea. One thing we do is buy colored pencils which come in a wide range of colors, seem to last longer, and have no plastic casing. I don’t know whether they’re better for the environment, but at least there’s not a ton of landfill bound plastic. The only issue is they have sharp points. My daughter is 6 and is fine with them but we keep them out of reach of my 3 year old.

    3. Maureen O'Neill
      May 24, 2011 | 4:51 pm

      Hi Diana,
      Just read your blog about discarded plastic markers. When you imagine all the dry-erase markers that schools, universities and businesses go through, it’s a staggering amount of waste too. You might be interested to learn about AusPen eco-friendly markers – they are made of 100% post-consumer recycled plastic, they are recyclable, and best of all…they are refillable with non-toxic ink, so we can stop throwing away all those non-recyclable plastic markers (and breathing in toxic fumes)! They’re also a fraction of the cost of constantly buying new markers.