Did you know?
Crayons are recyclable. If your kids are anything like mine, once a crayon is broken in any way it is deemed “No Good” and sent away. These crayons seem to hang around the house, either collected in a pencil box, on the floor, under beds or in drawers until someone finally tosses them in the trash. I can't even imagine what the circle of life for a crayon looks like at schools.
The Crayon Recycle Program
With cooperation from schools and kids across the country, The Crayon Recycle Program has prevented more than 92,000 pounds of crayons from going into landfills. Old crayons get a second chance as they become new crayons, fire starters and “recycle sticks,” all of which is available for purchase on their website. All of the proceeds support the recycling program.
How it works
There is no special crayon preparation that is necessary, leave the labels on and collect them as they are. The program does ask that only American made crayons be collected as some foreign made crayons, and those made before 1995 may contain questionable content and will need to be discarded.
The Crayon Recycle Program has a collection site in Momence, Ill. (about an 70 miles South of Aurora), and they do accept shipped packages. They acknowledge that shipping costs might be a burden, however, they do list several creative ways to get kids involved and raise the funds necessary to ship the packages, and some tips to make the shipping process easier.
Get kids involved
When kids are directly involved in a recycling project, they learn about the importance of reducing waste and they can experience the responsibility of taking care of the environment directly. The Crayon Recycle Program suggests these ways to get kids involved:
- Provide drop-off boxes in an easy to see location in each classroom. Let the kids decorate the box and set goals for how quickly they want to fill the box.
- Get kids thinking about all of the places where crayons get put in the trash: restaurants, day cares, waiting rooms are just a few ideas.
- Ask for coloring pages. Send an email request to the Crayon Recycle Program and you'll receive two coloring pages, “Color a Clean Earth”, and “Close the Loop”.
- Sell the products made from recycled crayons in the school store and use the proceeds to help pay for the shipping of old crayons to the recycling facility.
More than recycling
The Crayon Recycle Program makes an effort to employ individuals with developmental disabilities. Truly a community service, the Crayon Recycle Program is one we should all learn more about, and make an effort to get our schools to join in.