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In 2012, a group of elementary school students started a Crayola: Make Your Mark! petition calling for Crayola to "make sure these markers don't end up in our landfills, incinerators and oceans." The petition gathered over 90,000 petition signers. In 2013, Crayola launched their ColorCycle program, but won't admit that the student campaign was the catalyst for this program.
Crayola initially sent these markers to JBI's "plastics to oil" facility in Niagara, New York. This experimental operation closed down in December 2013 and remains idle, with the company claiming financial reasons (as have similar companies trying this failed plastics pyrolysis technology).
Crayola admits that its whole markers are not recyclable. They refuse to disclose which companies or facilities are processing the markers collected in their "ColorCycle" program, but claim that their "ColorCycle program repurposes the entire marker and turns it into reusable alternatives such as oil, electricity and wax."
Burning is NOT recycling!
Crayola admits that their initial plastics-to-oil scheme didn't work out, yet is still pursuing polluting and experimental incineration and pyrolysis schemes in communities they refuse to name.
Plastics-to-oil technology (pyrolysis) is very experimental, with various small demonstration facilities usually failing for technical and/or economic reasons, as JBI did. Pyrolysis is similar to incineration in that it's expensive and polluting, destroying materials, releasing toxins and waste products, and creating new toxic chemicals in the process.
Crayola also indicates that they're sending "ColorCycled" markers to be burned in trash incinerators. They state that they're using them to "generate electricity in the United States" and refer to "Energy from Waste plants," pretending that they "are a clean, reliable, and renewable source of energy that produces electricity with little environmental impact." This can only describe trash incinerators, most of which have rebranded themselves as "waste to energy" or "energy from waste" facilities.
In fact, trash incinerators are the most expensive and polluting way to manage waste or to make energy -- dirtier than coal power plants, and dirtier than landfills. They turn waste into toxic ash (which goes to landfills, anyway) and toxic air pollution. They release pollutants like nitrogen oxides, lead, mercury, and dioxin that contribute to ADHD, asthma, birth defects, cancer, learning disabilities, reduced IQ, violent behavior and many other health problems. This is not what a company should be doing if they "believe every child should have a healthy planet for their creative todays and tomorrows" as they claim.
In fact, the elementary school students who initially demanded marker recycling from Crayola specifically called for "Crayola to make sure these markers don't end up in our landfills, incinerators and oceans."
It's time for Crayola to come clean. Please sign this petition demanding that Crayola:
- be transparent about the specific facilities and processes where their ColorCycled markers are going,
- immediately stop supporting trash incinerators and incinerator-like pyrolysis schemes,
- redesign their markers so that they're refillable and 100% recyclable, and
- actually recycle the markers they collect.
Please email or call Mike at 215-436-9511 with any questions.