Crayola has just announced the completion of its 15-acre solar energy plant in Pennsylvania. It is estimated that 1.9 MW of photovoltaics will be used to manufacture 1 billion crayons!
Azo cleantech reports:
The solar farm incorporates more than 26,000 panels to produce an annual energy of 1.9 MW. Crayola claims that the energy produced is enough to manufacture nearly one third of the total three billion crayons manufactured by the company every year.
Peter Ruggiero, who leads Crayola global operations as Executive Vice President, said that green represents not just a color for Crayola and that the installation allows them, the use of renewable energy sources, lessens the production of waste and protects the rain producing forests and above all motivates the kids of today, to motivate others, for a better world.
Producing one-third of the company’s crayons from solar power is grand, but what about the other two-thirds? Does this energy come from coal burning power plants?
I also find the statement by Ruggiero a little hokey. Rain forests and motivating kids for a better world…really? What about energy independence and climate change? Ruggiero’s statement just reminds of me of something Miss America would say.
Of course, Crayola is promoting its new solar crayons with “ten lucky children from across America” to “‘plug in’ the new solar facility,” according to Solar Feeds. I do think it is cool that the Crayola solar farm features 26,200 thin-filmed solar panels, and it will “eliminate nearly 2,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, equivalent to planting 400 acres of pine forest each year”. That’s the kind of info Crayola executives should be touting, but they left it up to the “lucky” children, like the one in the video above!
Last fall, Crayola announced its plans for the solar farm and had projected it would be up and running by June 2010. Only a couple months behind schedule, the project was partially funded by Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Despite being snarky about Crayola executive’s beauty pageant remarks, I do applaud the companies move towards solar. One question…do the solar crayons contain asbestos?
Although the asbestos controversy ten years ago was written off as “no cause for concern” and “scientifically insignificant”, I still think two out of five tested Crayola crayons containing asbestos is alarming, no matter how insignificant the amount.
Wow, what a negatively written article! This blog usually stimulates me to think about issues I hadn’t been aware of previously and spurs me toward action. Today it left a sour taste in my mouth. I, for one, am delighted if even small steps are taken towards clean energy and reducing our negative environmental impact. That’s why I recycle and turn my lights off when I leave a room. My small actions aren’t going to change the world or even make much of a difference, but the collective impact of each person and company doing a little bit can make a big difference. While I agree that asbestos in crayons is a problem, I thought the article was about Crayola’s foray into solar energy. It seems to me the article likens to telling a child that at least he made his bed this morning after 3 years of nagging (albeit messily) but then scolding him for not brushing his teeth. The child doesn’t hear the praise but the negative message is loud and clear. Let’s celebrate small steps without conditions! Sure, it sounds like Crayola has other issues to deal with- we all do. But let’s not forget to acknowledge and applaud those first steps. Then let’s continue encouraging Crayola to continue positive change in these other areas.
Jennifer Lance says
@Jana, sorry to be so negative. Small actions do add up, but I’d really like to see Crayola not only go partially solar but change their ingredients. They are making some marker shells out of recycled plastic now, so that is cool. Anyhow, I’d rather my kids use natural soy rock crayons (http://www.reallynatural.com/archives/kids/natural_art_supplies_that_are.php) over Crayola any day.
I think it’s great that Crayola is taking small steps. I also wish they would take more and bigger steps, particularly since the public schools around here actually require Crayola brand crayons and markers. Frustrating when you know there are better, safer, options.
Matt F says
It is a big deal when large consumer product companies make moves like this. It means that they are starting to be concerned about environmental issues and if they put any info on the box, they can spread the message.