How-to: Recycle Crayola Markers

plastic barrels and caps from Crayola markers, ready to recycle

Have you heard about the group of California schoolchildren who want Crayola to establish a recycling program for their markers? To make a long story short, Crayola won’t do it (yet), and Crayola doesn’t want you to recycle their markers, either, because breaking down a Crayola marker for recycling would require taking it apart, exposing tiny pieces that are potential choking hazards and thus freaking out Crayola’s lawyers.

However, you CAN recycle most of a Crayola marker. It’s messy work, and it’s time-consuming, but it’s also a great lesson for kids (and for us!) about the obligations of responsible consumerism. Here’s how to do it:

pry the plug off of the end of the marker

Crayola publicly admits that their marker caps are made from polypropylene, a #5 recyclable plastic, so first set all your marker caps in the recyclable pile. Easy!

Although Crayola’s PR people won’t say it (they don’t want you to disassemble their markers, remember?), if you look up the materials specifications of Crayola markers (read page 5, under the marker specifications, in this Crayola school supplies catalog), you’ll see that the plastic barrels of Crayola markers are also made of polypropylene, a #5 recyclable plastic.

To remove the barrel, look at the end of the marker to find the seam where a plastic plug has been inserted–it’s my guess that this plug is also #5 plastic, but I haven’t been able to confirm it, so I don’t yet recycle the plug. Use something sharp, such as the box knife that my seven-year-old is responsibly wielding (yes, the same seven-year-old who also had a black eye in my post last week, because I’m apparently one of THOSE mothers), to pry the plug off of the barrel. The plug is tight, but it isn’t glued in, so it really isn’t that hard to pry it off. Set the plug in the trash pile.

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Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

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