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Local

From art supply to fuel

Lostant students partner with Crayola to lessen plastic pollution

Lostant sixth-grader Salina Breckenridge (from left), science teacher Tricia Haynes and sixth-grader Landon Mertel display some of the markers which have been collected in one of the boxes placed throughout Lostant Grade School as part of Crayola's ColorCycle program. The program takes used markers and, through a partnership with another company, recycles the plastic into a liquid fuel. Haynes has used the program to help teach her students about the environmental impact of global plastic pollution, particularly within the ocean.
Lostant sixth-grader Salina Breckenridge (from left), science teacher Tricia Haynes and sixth-grader Landon Mertel display some of the markers which have been collected in one of the boxes placed throughout Lostant Grade School as part of Crayola's ColorCycle program. The program takes used markers and, through a partnership with another company, recycles the plastic into a liquid fuel. Haynes has used the program to help teach her students about the environmental impact of global plastic pollution, particularly within the ocean.

LOSTANT — If we don’t stop the reckless pollution of our oceans, a recent, widely-shared study has predicted they’ll contain more plastic than fish by 2050. After hearing this disturbing result of human impact, a Lostant Grade School (LGS) teacher had her inspiration for a new school project.

Tricia Haynes, the LGS science teacher, has tasked the school’s student council, of which she’s the faculty sponsor, with a project to collect and recycle plastic from a common school item — markers.

The student council is responsible for the school’s successful recycling program and LGS has partnered with Crayola’s ColorCycle marker recycling program. Launched in 2013, the popular program converts used markers, which aren’t easily recyclable, into a liquid fuel. Crayola also provides educators with lesson plans to help children understand their roles in lessening pollution.

“I’m using this as part of my lesson plan about clean energy. The students are learning how they can be responsible at even a young age and they understand how their actions end up treating the environment. They were appalled when they learned about the 2050 predictions,” Haynes said.

Through the ColorCycle program, students in K-12 schools throughout the country are gathering used markers, of any brand, and shipping them to Crayola at the company’s expense.

“This has taught me to use less plastic and about how important it is to protect animals in the ocean from it,” student Salina Breckenridge, 11, said.

“If we don’t recycle and stop polluting, the world is going to be a big mess,” student Landon Mertel, 11, added.

So far, the collection boxes placed throughout LGS have gathered 250 markers for recycling and Haynes said they hope to possibly place additional boxes at places such as the post office and library.

According to their website, other green measures Crayola has embraced include the installation of 30,000 solar panels at their headquarters which help make a billion crayons and 500 million markers a year; recycling plastic scraps; and making colored pencils with re-forested wood.

“The students have really taken ownership of this program and they’re also using what they’ve learned to help improve how their own families use plastic. I’m very proud of them,” Haynes said.

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