WINNIPEG -- One Grade 8 student in Winnipeg is doing her part to make the world a better place.

Since she was in Grade 5, Sophia Weiser has been part of an effort to keep used markers, sharpies, and mechanical pencils out of landfills. Instead, the writing utensils are given to the company TerraCycle, which transforms them into benches, Frisbees, and other reusable items.

“You drop off a box of these old, can’t use them anymore markers, bring them to Staples and then ship them to TerraCycle and they melt them into plastic pellets and reuse them to make Frisbees and benches and reusable things that we can use now in our day-to-day lives,” Weiser said.

Weiser said she began her recycling program three years ago, because she wanted to bring awareness to the TerraCycle program

“I wanted to do it in my schools,” she said.

“We use markers all the time and we need to find a way to make sure that we’re not just creating more waste in the world.”

She started by making announcements around her school, and within one week had collected 800 non-usable markers. Since then, she has collected almost 5,000 markers.

“It was crazy,” Weiser said. “It just grew from there.”

Weiser said she has also brought her program to doctor’s offices and other businesses. She has also spoken to Winnipeg’s mayor and city councillors about the initiative.

“We’re starting to get more and more involvement, just dropping off different boxes and having someone at that facility take it to Staples,” she said.

Weiser said she still wants to continue to grow the program and create more awareness.

“My goal is to get it in every school in Manitoba,” she said.

“I really hope that we can get it there, every business too. Getting in offices. This is something we use every day, 1.6 billion pens are thrown away every year. That’s how many pens are thrown away. So if we could get those into Frisbees that we use for gym, that would be amazing.”

She said the reaction to her program has been positive because, “people want to make a difference.”

- With files from CTV’s Owen Swinn.