KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Crayola has announced a new program for recycling its plastic markers, a move that comes about a year after a group of schoolchildren petitioned the crayon maker to start such a program.

Crayola, a subsidiary of Kansas City-based Hallmark Cards, says under its ColorCycle program students in kindergarten through 12th grade can collect their used plastic markers, box them up and send them to a recycling facility. Crayola will pay the shipping costs.

The announcement comes about a year after a group of schoolchildren in San Rafael, Calif., started an online petition aimed at encouraging Easton, Pa.-based Crayola to start a "take-back" program for used-up markers.

Crayola said then that the company did not have the facilities or a process for a recycling program that would deal with the whole marker. Crayola spokeswoman Julie Lando said in an email Thursday that the company has for several years been looking for a way to recycle the entire marker, and the new program uses a process that can repurpose the whole marker into fuel.

"We love to see these kids' passion and creativity, and that inspires us and strengthens our resolve," Lando said.

So far 125 schools are participating in the ColorCycle program, which is expected to be officially launched later this summer, she said.

Land Wilson, a parent who helped students at the Sun Valley elementary school in San Rafael, Calif., with their petition, said the students now would like Crayola to show them how the markers will be recycled.

"I hope Crayola will provide more information about their process," Wilson said in a release from Change.org, where the students posted their petition last year. "What I've seen from my kids is real desire to learn about the science behind these initiatives."