Waste Free Winston Presents marker and crayon recycling for Forsyth County Schools

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 16, 2019

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Last year, more than 100 pounds of markers were collected and recycled from Clemmons-based elementary and pre- schools by Michelle Barson, mayor pro tem of Clemmons, and Claire Wait, the first lady of Clemmons. This year, with the blessing of the school board, they are expanding it to all Forsyth County elementary and middle schools and including crayons in an effort keep recyclable and reusable materials out of landfills.

“We had such a huge success with just markers and only in Clemmons that I thought this really needs to be expanded throughout the county. There is a real need here and an obvious willingness to participate by teachers,” Michelle Barson said.

Barson and Wait are continuing with Crayola brand to recycle the collected markers through their Crayola Colorcycle program. More than Crayola markers can be recycled. Products including Sharpies, highlighters, dry erase and any other brand of markers can be included.

“I’m a former teacher and now mother of four kids. I cringe every year at how many school supplies we throw in the trash. This collection makes it easy to avoid that, and the impact will be huge,” Wait said.

This year, the two found The Crayon Initiative, based out of California, as a resource for recycling crayons. The Crayon Initiative will actually melt down the crayons and rebuild them to donate to pediatric patients at hospitals.

Deanna Kaplan, member of the School Board, supports this recycling initiative saying, “Our schools utilize many supplies and so much ends up in the trash during the end-of-school-year clean out. By Michelle and Claire providing an on-site solution for teachers, parents and students we may be able to keep hundreds of pounds of crayons and markers out of landfills.”

Barson believes that success will be found by not adding any additional burden to teachers or administrators. “They’re already so busy, especially at the end of the year, we want this to be effortless on their part. Literally, it’s an ask to drop broken and small crayons and dried out markers into our boxes on their way out the door for summer,” she said.

This initiative is completely volunteer driven by members and friends of the Waste Free Winston Facebook group. Collection boxes will be delivered to elementary and middle schools around Forsyth County the week of June 3 and picked up within two days of the school year ending.

Volunteers will gather at the Clemmons Civic Club located at 2870 Middlebrook Drive in Clemmons from 2-4 p.m. on Friday, June 14.

If your organization would be interested in participating in this program, please contact Michelle Barson at michelle.naomi.barson@gmail.com .