Thursday, March 30, 2017

Put Your Old Markers to New Use with an Earth Day Project

Hi, Teaching Friends!

Do you have bins full of mostly-worn out or really-should-be-tossed markers? I didn't know this, but markers can't just be put into regular recycling. Although the cap and barrel are recyclable, you'll need to remove the tip and reservoir first, and talk about a tedious job ... no, thank you!

This post contains an affiliate link.

Here's a solution that will make recycling markers simple, and let you include lots of learning along the way, right in time for Earth Day.

Crayola has an easy recycling system called CrayolaColorCycle, which is available to schools in the US and parts of Canada.

In a nutshell, here's how it works:

1. Get your administrator on board with participating.

2. Set up a collection box, or even more than one.

3. Pack all of your markers in a cardboard box, and print out a shipping label from the
   CrayolaColorCycle site.  

4. FedEx Ground will pick up your package, with Crayola paying all the shipping charges.

How simple is that?!? There are directions at the site that will walk you through the process.    
Crayola also provides some standards-based lesson plans that will help you turn this into the perfect project for Earth Day.

But... you don't even need those plans to easily integrate this project with math and literacy.
Just think of the possibilities!

* Brainstorm places to promote the project. Family newsletters? PTA? Posters around the school?
Teacher mailboxes? Your students could work independently or with partners to write/edit/publish these.

* Label the boxes, with student-created artwork and captions.

* When the boxes start to fill, the math learning opportunities are abundant! Counting, bundling by hundreds/tens/ones, sorting and graphing by colors, ...  If you give each classroom in your school a container to fill, you could even introduce some competition with a big wall graph in your hallway, completed by your students, of course! Could your students use a marker as your unit for measuring length?  How about writing some word problems about the markers? 

Here's a set of four math task cards, just to get you started! Click on the picture to download yours.

* After the project, write thank you notes - to Crayola, to parents, to others who've lent support to the project. If your students are young or time is short, a chart paper note created with shared writing and signed by all is a great alternative to individual notes.

Before you prep for the new year by buying some great new markers, I hope you'll consider giving this project a try!  All brands of markers are accepted for recycling, not just Crayola, and you can even send them highlighters and dry erase markers.

Have fun with this! I'd love to hear how it goes for you!

Happy Teaching!


  1. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

    1. They really make it so simple! Thanks for leaving a comment!

  2. I LOVE this idea! I appreciate your post otherwise I wouldn't have known about this.

    1. I was excited when I came across this info. I'm glad that it's helpful to you!

  3. What a fantastic idea! I love anything that can be recycled. Thank you so much for this post, I will look into doing this in our school next year!

    1. I hope it works out for you! It's a project with so much potential for many kinds of learning, and it's so easy to do.
      Thanks for your comment!


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