Preventing a ton (literally) of waste at your school can be easy, inexpensive, and educational.
Easiest First Step
- Stop buying plastic markers.
- Billions already exist on the planet as plastic pollution forever.
- Marker “recycling” programs = incineration. In corporate speak: “Waste To Energy”, resulting in more CO2 emissions and highly toxic ash.
- Even IF marker recycling was a real and functioning system, these programs would only ever capture a tiny fraction of markers produced.
- Marker “recycling” exists to make people feel better about buying more markers. It’s genius marketing.
What to use instead?
How is it educational?
There is so much fascinating stuff for students to learn here!
- Weight + Volume Calculations of waste created by markers.
- Estimate waste generated per classroom, grade, school, district, state, country… (eye opening)
- Research the “recycling” programs
- What are the costs (real and carbon) of shipping spent markers to recycling facilities?
- How many markers are produced a year ?
- How many recycling programs would it take to prevent plastic pollution from plastic markers?
- Can it be considered a closed loop system if 99.9% of the markers end up in landfill, incinerated or wind up as pollution?
- Set up a spent marker collection bin and label it: THE LAST PLASTIC MARKER” and post on/near it all of the data students collect
- Extra credit for researching what chemicals are in the type of plastic that makes up the markers and caps
- Extra extra for learning about the methane emitted from plastics as they are exposed to sunlight (landfill/litter/ocean)
We approach all school + office supplies this way because the effect + reach of plastic pollution is impossible to overstate.
*Did you know a new marine animal was discovered in one of the deepest places on earth, and the scientists that discovered it were so concerned with finding it with plastic in its stomach that they named it: "Eurythenes plasticus"
They chose this name to highlight that plastic pollution is now so prevalent that even a new species of amphipod living nearly 7km below sea level has ingested plastic.
*Up next: Plastic Paint on Pencils
Happy to help you plan to reduce loads of waste at your school - reach out anytime!
Heather + Nikki (Founders)