How to Reuse and Recycle Crayons

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The end of the school year and the beginning of the school year mean crayons. Yes, crayons. My children always need new crayons at the beginning of the school year (shocker) but at the end of the school year, they are down to the nubs and 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 crayon nubs and bits?

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.

How to start a crayon recycling program #recycle #school #green

1. Crayon Recycling Company

Sending your crayon to a company that takes care of the recycling for you is the answer folks! The Crayon Bin recycle your crayons and you don’t even have to peal the paper off.They use the crayon paper to make camp fire starters. Recycle and reuse!

They Reward You Too

On top of the warm and fuzziness you will get from knwing you did the right thing, they also give you a reward. Send them 100 crayons and they’ll send you a new box of recycled crayons.

They Want To Help The Environment

The Crayon Bin is a company dedicated to keeping crayons out of landfills and you can help. Start a crayon bin at your local grocery store, recycling center, daycare, school, etc.What a great way for schools to get recycled crayons and do something good for the environment. When I was reading about this company I was so happy to have stumbled upon them because they also use the tips of crayons to make crayons for who have difficulty with fine motor skills. How great is that?

Most people don’t even think about a tiny crayon when they toss it. It’s tiny in comparison to most waste and takes up such a small amount of space in the trash. Put 2 million crayons together and that small space is suddenly not so small! Keeping millions of crayons out of the landfills makes sense and it’s a cinch with The Crayon Bin. Check it out and start one near you.

2. Recycle Your Own Crayons

If you want to make crayons out of old crayons, this is the section for you.
As a long time preschool teacher the recycling of crayons and markers has become common practice for me. After all, waste not want not, right?
Here is what I do:
  1. Grab an old muffin tin and preheat my oven to 150 degrees.
  2. Peel all the old broken crayons and I cut them up.
  3. Sort them into colors or make rainbow crayons for even more fun.
  4. Bake for 15 or so minutes (you’ll see that they all melt together).
  5. Let the crayons and muffin tin cool and then pop out your new crayons. You can keep doing this over and over!

No need to throw crayons in the garbage, ever! These larger homemade crayons are great for chubby hands and fingers too!

3. Reuse at Home – Make Candles

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 or candle wax (available at hobby stores)

What you need to do:

  • Halfway fill the shoe box 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!

4. Buy 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:

The National Crayon Recycling Program

Looking for eco-friendly crayon options? No worries, I have you covered:

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