It’s back to school time and on the list of items my kids need – crayons. No surprise there but as I went through my craft supplies I found a huge bag of crayon “bits”. You know the ones without wrappers or stubs that are technically still useful but hard to grip. The kids prefer new crayons with wrappers that have the color name on them. So what can be done with this large bag of crayons?
I bet you have a box, bag or pile yourself, right? If you’re a teacher or art teacher, I know you have piles upon piles and you’re wondering what you can do with these colorful little stubs.
Fear not, the crayons can be recycled at home or even at special centers that reuse the crayons.
Option #1 Crazy Crayons
This recycling effort has stopped more than 92,000 pounds of discarded crayons from making their way into landfills. That’s a lot of wax! A company called LAF Lines Ltd has developed a Crayon Recycling Program: you send LAF Lines Ltd your discarded crayon stubs, and they in turn send the stubs to a company that recycles them into Crazy Crayons. These two businesses work together to produce unique crayon creations.
The Crayon Recycling Program collects all of those crayon stubs through schools and individuals who participate. School children and teachers collect the stubs in boxes and send them to LAF Lines Ltd. If you are thinking of implementing this for your classroom, preschool, daycare, home school, etc., here are some guidelines and suggestions for sending the crayon stubs through the mail:
- Use sturdy cardboard – crayons are surprisingly heavy.
- If there are wrappers on the crayons, leave them on. This makes it easier for the folks at LAF Lines Ltd to sort them.
- Use UPS ground to send your packages of crayons, and call ahead to arrange for your shipment. Since you are sending your crayons to a business, you may get a break on postage.
- Consolidate your crayons into one box to save shipping – but don’t exceed the Post Office’s 70-pound limit.
- Fit the crayon stubs snugly together to minimize the chance of the box getting crushed.
Learn more about the recycling program, what types of crayons they collect and recycle and where to send your crayons and get students/children involved: http://www.crazycrayons.com/recycle_program.html
Option #2 Recycle & Reuse at Home
If you are unable to participate in the above program (say you only have a dozen or so crayon bits), there are some ways you can recycle them at home. Here is an interesting idea for turning your crayons into candles.
To do this craft, you will need:
- a shoebox
- sand (such as you might use in a child’s sandbox)
- string (for a wick)
- old soup cans or other heat-resistant, metal cans
- white paraffin used for candle making (available at hobby stores)
What you need to do:
- Halfway fill the shoebox with sand. Dig a small, circular depression in the sand, about the size of an orange. Push your finger into the bottom of the depression in 3 or 4 places. These will be the candle’s “legs,” so try to space them evenly and make them the same length.
- Cut a wick from the string and gently insert it into the sand in the middle of your mold.
- In a skillet (electric skillets work especially well), bring several inches of water to a boil and keep it at a low simmer. Halfway fill the soup can(s) with small pieces of paraffin and crayon stubs. Set the cans into the hot water and melt.
- Using a hot pad, lift out the soup can and pour the liquid wax into the sand mold.
- When the wax is solid again, gently dig your candle out from the sand.
There is no need to let those bothersome crayon stubs be a waste!