I am a homeschooling mom of three (thanks, COVID) and I have an embarrassing array of markers, colored pencils, and crayons for my kids to choose from. This is partially because my mom passed on all my childhood art supplies (yes, she saved them) and partially because I love art supplies and, before my zero waste lifestyle, I used to get a new set of something almost every year.
Colored pencils are really the coloring medium for kids because they can be resharpened, don’t break easily, and don’t go bad (plus, Crayola makes them from reforested wood). Crayons come in second because they can be resharpened and don’t go bad (but my toddler is excellent at breaking them). Also, you can melt them down and turn them into new rainbow crayons.
But markers, alas, markers! They are so vibrant, so fun to use! And so unsustainable. They are made from plastic. They dry up super fast. And, if my toddler gets her hands on them, they lose their tips and are useless forever. In order to mitigate this, I try to give them access to only a few at a time, to enforce the top rule, and to recycle them when they give up the ghost.
Recycle markers? In 2013, Crayola launched the Colorcycle program, which allows you to recycle markers (any kind of markers, not just Crayola). It’s a great way to introduce your kids to recycling because markers are something they use (unlike bean cans). Have your kids decorate the box with their markers and wait until it fills up to mail it in (I just checked, though, and you need to hold onto for the time being because of COVID).
Why am I promoting Crayola? It seems like big business. Shouldn’t I be supporting a small, local art supply company. For one thing, if you have kids, you need a lot of art supplies. It’s like fish and water. And Crayola is really focused on sustainability. Look at their sustainability page! How many companies use 100% solar power to make their U.S. products (Enough to make over 3 billion crayons & 700 million markers a year)? How many companies are poised to be carbon negative by 2022? And I already mentioned the colored pencils and the marker recovery program.
So draw on, friends!