LESLIE CRISS: Binney & Smith plans greening of long-loved line of products

“I found I could say things
with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.”
– Georgia O’Keeffe

“What’s the use of a fine house
if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?”
– Henry David Thoreau

It’s not easy being green. At least, according to Kermit the Frog. But the folks in the boardroom at Binney & Smith are trying to make it easier to get – and stay – green.
With some new takes on familiar products, the company that created Crayola Crayons is charting a course to care for our earth.
When it’s time for school supply shopping, students and parents will find some new eco-friendly items on store shelves.
- Paint it black.
Crayola Markers, until now in their classic white barrels, will now be black. This apparently allows for more than a million pounds of plastic bottle caps to be recycled for a second life.
According to Binney & Smith, the black barrels will mean landfills will miss out on many tons of plastic.
- Here comes the sun.
I was always a fan of the giant box of 64 Crayons, complete with sharpener. But I guess little kids have to start small.
The box of 24 Crayons will be manufactured by solar power. Here’s how, according to the folks at Crayola: More than 26,000 solar panels will convert sunlight into electricity and generate the energy to make one billion of the three billion Crayons made annually at the Easton, Pa., headquarters.
The sun-powered Crayons will be in specially marked boxes.
I call that a good start.
- It takes a forest.
I’ve long been a lover of the huge hunks of colored wax packaged by Crayola. No imitations for me. But some folks prefer wood to wax. For more than two decades, Crayola colored pencils have been made from reforested wood. And any time a tree is used, a new one just like it is planted.
We go back a long way, Crayola crayons and I.
My first box of eight was provided by Mrs. Doty at Merry Morning Kindergarten. They were hard to handle, those kindergarten colors. Huge hunks of color with one flat side and an arch. Guaranteed not to roll.
In first grade, I lost the argument for a box of 64 and found myself in a blue funk. The box of 64 was a sort of a status symbol and I was a nobody with my small box of 24.
Then a girl named Sandra showed up with her 150-count can of colors and we became green with envy.
For a while the Binney & Smith boxes of 64 – and my box of 24 – were forgotten, neglected. Until we found out the crayons in Sandra’s can were generic. Cheap imitations.
She was ostracized for a few days. Shunned for trying to paint a picture with a different color. Until we decided one’s colors shouldn’t be a decisive factor in friendship.
Finally, I became the owner of the box of 64 and it was worth the wait. What a heavenly sight, this virtual rainbow of color.
I’m tickled pink to learn my old friend Binney & Smith is going green.
Thanks for bringing color – and care – to our earth.

Contact Leslie Criss at (662) 678-1584 or leslie.criss@djournal.com.

Leslie Criss