Crayola has found a way to turn dried up markers into clean fuel capable of being used in boilers, ships and even cars. The company makes up to 700 million markers a year and has partnered with New York clean energy company JBI to create the Colorcycle initiative.
Under the initiative, about 600 schools around the country have so far agreed to recycle their used markers for free. The dried up markers are then shipped to JBI, which specializes in recycling dense plastics — like shampoo and pill bottles, and coffee containers. Entire markers are melted and compressed in machines that break down long complex plastic molecules thousands of atoms long. The machines process about 2,000 pounds of plastics per hour and produce clean fuel at a rate of a few gallons a minute.