With the summer coming to a close, families are stocking up on supplies for kids headed back to school. But students and teachers alike are beginning to wonder what impact these school supplies have on the world around them, and one classroom chose to speak up.
"I love your markers, but I'd like to tell you it's [sic] polluting. So can I please send some of your markers back? I love your product, but hate pollution," Zachary, age 9.
The above quote represents just one testimonial from the "Crayola, Make Your Mark! Set up a marker recycling program" petition on Change.Org, started by the students of Sun Valley Elementary School in Sun Valley, California. A year later, Crayola has heeded their call, launching the Crayola Colorcycle program with waste-to-fuel producer JBI, Inc. to turn used markers into clean energy. According to the Crayola website, for each pack of markers recycled, JBI, Inc. can create enough fuel to make toast or brew one pot of coffee. The program, which accepts all brands of markers, is available to K-12 classrooms across the U.S. and features a dedicated website and in-school collection process. The campaign also introduces a series of lesson plans to teach children about the importance of sustainability.
Cone's research reveals that nine-in-10 Americans believe they have a responsibility to use and dispose of products properly for the greatest environmental benefit, but the majority (85%) still look to companies for help. In this instance, Crayola is collaborating with stakeholders to close the loop on a product that's difficult to recycle on its own, jointly creating positive change. As stakeholders continue to raise their voice around CSR issues through online avenues like Change.org, companies that join in the conversation will have the opportunity to create concerted solutions to tricky sustainability issues.