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Students Target Toxic School Supplies
Date:6/2/2010

there.” The teens’ response was to do some research to find an eco-friendly alternative. It was through this search they discovered the AusPen dry-erase markers. AusPen markers are completely eco-friendly, using non-toxic ink and are both refillable and recyclable. The marker itself is made of 100% recycled aluminum, so it eliminates all that plastic waste generated at each school every year. By making the switch, schools no longer toss disposable markers into their local landfills.

“The choice of using the AusPen markers also has to do with reducing waste, and they are cost effective, which puts in a good word with the purchasing director”.

The club set about raising funds to purchase the eco-friendly markers for the classrooms. They first engaged the administrators, other students and teachers, and informed them of the potential harms and risks associated with noxious fumes from regular markers. “The teachers have been exposed to toxic markers their whole teaching careers, without knowing about green alternatives.” Motivated into action, the teens, with the help of a teacher-mentor, began fundraising, including a 13 mile hike-a-thon along Ring Mountain in which they raised the money needed to purchase the school sets of AusPen markers.

When asked what advice she might give to other students wanting to make a difference in their school, Packer suggests starting by evaluating the needs of the school. “And don’t give up. Don’t take ‘no’." She urges, “When teens tell their schools about ideas for positive change, and if they have valid reasons, the administrators listen. They really do.”

Most inspiring about the accomplishments of Teens Turning Green at San Rafael High School is the fact that the members are educated and they are
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