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Cool School: San Rafael’s Sun Valley Spurs Innovative Recycling Program

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Crayola markers are seen in the back-to-school section. (Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

Crayola markers are seen in the back-to-school section. (Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

SAN RAFAEL (KPIX 5) – After noticing how many markers get thrown away, students at Sun Valley Elementary in San Rafael took action.

The school’s Green Team petitioned Crayola, responsible for making half a billion markers a year, to recycle.

“Kids could have some convenient way to send these back and processed to make more Crayola products,” said Land Wilson, a parent and volunteer who spearheads the effort. “Just to keep them out of landfills and incinerators.”

The team, made up of about 80 students, gathered more than 90-thousand signatures through change dot org. Lawmakers and even actor Robin Williams joined the cause and, less than a year later, Crayola announced plans to convert its used markers into a liquid fuel source.

“It was so exciting,” Wilson said. “I mean it represented all of this hard work that these kids have been doing for a year.”

“I’m happy to see that it’s becoming a big success,” said Juliana Postrel, a 4th grader.

The students collected dried out markers and sent Crayola its first shipment of 35 pounds. Inspired by the petition, Dixon Ticonderoga Company, a competitor of Crayola also launched its own program to recycle markers.

“Everybody thinks ‘oh they’re kids they can’t do anything’” said Dante Cokinos, a sixth grader. “But we can.”

And they did.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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