Mom's Viral Photo Of 15 Pounds Of 'Dead' Markers Shows Little Known Recycling Hack

"Imagine what we could divert from landfills during the whole school year at every school!"

As society makes strides to reduce the amount of plastic polluting the environment, one mother's recent viral Facebook photo has inspired parents everywhere to use one recycling option that's remained relatively unknown.  

Last week, Facebook user Hali McCloud of Hawaii posted about the box of old, dried up markers collected at her son's preschool. "[Fifteen] pounds of dead markers that will not end up in Maui's landfill or ocean," she wrote. 

"Did you know that Crayola has a program called ColorCycle? If you collect the dead markers, they'll send you a free shipping label and you can ship them back to Crayola to be recycled!"

As McCloud mentioned, in Crayola's push to eliminate plastics dumped in landfills across the United States, the company now encourages schools across the country to gather and return "dead" markers that would otherwise get tossed in the garbage. As Crayola's site notes, it's "also a great opportunity for teachers and their students to explore eco-friendly practices."

McCloud, who initially discovered the program through a Facebook post similar to hers, told A Plus that her kids were excited to set up boxes at their schools once she told them about the initiative.

"It was April and school was about to be out for summer. We have very short summer breaks in Hawaii," she told A Plus. "My youngest son, however, goes to preschool, which continues through the summer, so we put a box there. The preschool is pretty small, only 34 kids, and they filled that box in only three months. The teachers were very eager to help."

As McCloud explained, there are only four easy steps to the entire process. Once the given school has agreed to participate, those in charge need only establish a collection station. After collecting an adequate amount of old markers, the adults in charge should pack the materials into a plain cardboard box and request a shipping label directly from Crayola. However, according to McCloud, Alaska and Hawaii don't qualify for free shipping, "so I'm paying the shipping out of my own pocket but it's totally worth it to not ever find these markers on our beaches!"

"Imagine what we could divert from landfills during the whole school year at every school!" McCloud wrote.

"I'm hoping all this attention will inspire Crayola to include us in the program," McCloud said. "Maui island has virtually no recycling at all, so it would really help to get these dry markers out of here."

"Our plan for the new school year, which starts next week, is to put a large flat-rate box in every class room," she added. "My older kids are 11 and 9 and go to a very small, private school. Each box will have a sign printed off the ColorCycle page and we will have a speech that my kids will give to each class motivating them to use the boxes for dried up markers."

McCloud's own business, Shark Pit Designs, already donates 100 percent of its profits to groups that help Maui's reefs and coastlines and, until Crayola offers free shipping outside the contiguous U.S., her company will fund shipping costs as needed. 

"When the boxes are full, I will pay out of pocket to ship them to Crayola. My kids will have a lemonade stand or wash cars to raise some of the money and my business will pay for the rest," she said. "I think getting these markers off the island to be recycled falls under my umbrella."

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