How do you feel about the millions of Crayola markers (and other brands) sitting in our landfills? It's something I've been contemplating in our attempt to live a more eco-friendly life.
Kiddo's markers have been running a bit dry lately. Usually I would let them run all the way out before getting new ones, but on the way home I passed the oh-so-tempting neighborhood art store and stopped in to get a new box because I knew a little art session would buy me at least a half an hour of peace and quiet.
I was right about the peace and quiet but after buying them I started thinking about markers and their environmental impact. So much plastic just to end up in the landfill or the ocean. Ugh. And I don't even want to think about all the chemicals which spew out during the manufacturing process.
Is there a good alternative, or do we just switch over to crayons (which you can recycle, or buy soy and beeswax varieties) and colored pencils? I'm sure there are good eco-friendly art supplies out there. Any recommendations?
In the meantime, prevent your markers from going immediately to the landfill (although no matter how many crafts you make with them they end up there eventually) with these ideas:
- Turn dried out markers into watercolor paints.
- Try bubble prints with old markers.
- Tips for reusing old markers and options for reducing waste associated with them
- How to break down the markers for recycling
- How to upcycle markers into alcohol ink.
- Turn the caps into a jump rope!
- Use the old caps with play dough
Let's not color a rainbow over the impact all our markers are having on the environment. Yes, extending the life of the marker is helpful, and recycling is better than a landfill, but recycling does not equal zero waste or zero toxicity. Crayola has started a recycling initiative you can read about on their website. Here's an interesting article about the realities of recycling Crayola markers.
We can't be perfect, but we can try to make good and informed choices.