Crayola makes up to 700-million plastic markers a year, and now they are turning dried up markers into fuel good enough to be used in boilers, ships, and even your car.
Crayola has partnered up with New York clean energy company JBI, creating the Colorcycle Initiative. About 600 schools around the country so far are joining up to recycle their old markers for free.
Crayola then ships them to JBI where entire markers- with the ink- are melted and compressed in machines to make clean fuel. This is mostly turned into diesel.
The fuel is used by companies like U.S. Steel and fuel dealers. JBI has produced 600,000 gallons of clean fuel from plastics since 2010.
The Chief of Technology at JBI, John Bordynuik said, "It's an excellent way to handle un-recyclable plastics, and it's a very critical one because only eight to nine percent of the plastic in the U-S is actually recycled. The rest of it goes to landfill."
Crayola manufactures 60% of the world's markers in Easton, Pennsylvania. But markers are tough to recycle, with many customers not bothering because they have to strip the ink out first. Crayola hopes they have found an environmentally sustainable solution that will also serve as a teaching moment for kids in schools.
"When they sign up they have immediate access to lesson plans on sustainability. So they're actually able to help children understand how they can take an active role in improving their environment for tomorrow," said Peter Ruggiero of Crayola.
Crayola does not make a profit off this initiative, and hope to recycle up to 70-million markers a year one day. Students can get their schools to sign up for the program at Crayola.com/colorcycle.