October 28, 2009

Student Activity - Contacting Manufacturers

. October 28, 2009

Recycling and picking up litter is just one piece of the pie to make our planet a greener place to live. It also helps if we purchase products that are manufacturered in an environmentally friendly way. Some manufacturers have been doing this for a long time, others are starting to join them, and still others need a lot of help. One manufacturer that I recently contacted was Crayola.

Crayola makes a lot of great products that students frequently use, and they seem to do a good job making their products in an environmentally friendly way. There are some interesting and fun links on their website describing all of the things they do at the factory to protect the Earth. Click on the following to see how they make markers, crayons, and colored pencils as green as possible.

I always felt bad throwing out markers after they were used up. So I wrote an e-mail to Crayola's customer service department asking if it was possible to recycle the markers by creating a program similar to Elmer's Glue Glue Crew. The following is the response they sent back.

Dear Jay,

Thank you for your recent inquiry. Crayola is constantly striving, through our own marketing and research and development departments, to develop new products, concepts and improve existing ones to meet consumer needs. We recognize that consumers like you are our most valuable assets. By listening to your comments, we can provide the best quality products and services available. Your suggestion to start a program similar to Elmer’s Glue have been recorded with similar ones received from consumers.

Crayola is continually evaluating opportunities to make our products environmentally friendly. All Crayola Markers are made of five components, which include a water based color solution, a porous plastic nib, a plastic barrel, a cotton filament and a cap. The plastic components are made of polypropylene plastic. During production, we reuse plastic left from molding processes. Since Crayola Markers are tightly assembled for safety and quality purposes, it is generally not practical to attempt to recycle them.

We appreciate your contact. If additional assistance is needed, you may reach us by telephone at (800) 272-9652 weekdays between 9 AM and 4 PM Eastern Time or e-mail by visiting Crayola.com. Best wishes for a colorful future!

Colorfully yours,

Jo Ellen Raub

Consumer Affairs Lead Representative


As you can see, it's not practical to recycle the markers because of the different materials they are made of. But writing Crayola was still a success because it reinforces the fact that more and more customers are asking for environmentally friendly products.

Students - I encourage you to follow my example. Here are some steps to help you out.

  1. Think of a product that you use every day.
  2. Learn how that product is made.
  3. Think about how that product can be made in a more environmentally friendly way.
  4. Write an e-mail to the manufacturer with your suggestion. Most manufacturers' websites have a customer service or "Contact Us" link. Make sure you get your parents' permission.
  5. Hopefully, you'll get a response back. If so, e-mail the Woolridge Green Club at gogreenwoolridge@gmail.com, forward your original e-mail and the manufacturer's response, and I'll post it on the Woolridge Green Club website.




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