Recycle Your Crayons Or Make Your Own Crayon Art

crayons
Photo by Shawn Ford

Updated 3/10/2010

Millions of broken crayons are thrown away every day. Since they are petroleum based, it will take centuries for them to biodegrade.  Did you ever stop to think that you could recycle or reuse those old crayons?  Here are some suggestions:

Recycle those Old Crayons with Crazy Crayons or The CrayonBin

Wisconsin based Crazy Crayons collects old crayons and recycles them into new crayons and fire starters. The Company has collected over 34,000 pounds of crayons since its inception in 1993.  Their hand crafted crayons are like a work of art where no two are the same.  They offer hundreds of shapes and themes such as teddy bears, insects, and custom designs.  Unfortunately, none of their designs are listed on their website.

Crazy Crayons not only uses recycled products, they also care about how the crayons are packaged for resale. All crayons are packaged in recycled cardboard boxes.  Some are packaged in cellophane, which is made from tree gum, which is biodegradable.  They do offer packaging choices of reusable, re-sealable poly-baggies for those wishing for a pack and go solution.

Founder, LuAnn Foty, also created The National Crayon Recycling Program and provided the following tips on how to reduce your shipping cost when shipping crayons:

  • “One large box is less costly than several small boxes.
  • Use sturdy boxes that closely fit the amount of contents
    (as to avoid crushing or breakage of box).
  • COD’s and service centers, such as The UPS Store will cost extra
    (check out your options).
  • Small packages (less than 5 pounds) will cost less shipping via the US mail. UPS has changed their “home pick up service” prices (call, compare and save costs).
  • Use UPS basic ground service and let them know that you are shipping to a business (lower rates). UPS: 1-800-742-5877″

Crayons and Fire starters can be ordered via an 800 number listed on the site.  You can find custom Crazy Crayons at certain museums, national parks and stores throughout the US and Canada.  Some are listed on the site’s Recognition section. Call the Company to inquire about the nearest vendor.

For every pound of crayons that are sent to the Company, you will receive, one recycled crayon.

According to a recent published article , the Company states you  can be shipped to the following addresses:

“CRAYON RECYCLING PROGRAM
721 Village Road
Pelican Lake, WI 54463

If you live closer to Florida then Wisconsin, the shipping will cost less if you ship the crayons to my brother, Dave’s Crayon Workshop in Ocala, FL:
CRAYON RECYCLE PROGRAM
14180 SW 30th St. Rd.
Ocala, FL 34481″

If shipping is a problem, contact the Company.  For more suggestions on how to institute a program in your school, see here. (I am collecting in my school; however, I am giving the used crayons away to churches.)

Another company who is doing the recycling thing is NJ based The CrayonBin.  They have been collecting crayons and re-creating them into wonderful designs since 2003.  (See their photo gallery.)  In addition, the Company sells fire starters too. Note, it appears that the Crayon Bin is out of business. The owner expressed concern a year ago about the new law noted below, which may have caused the Company to go out of business.

Unfortunately, the new law enactment by CPSIA, which intends to keep children safe from harmful chemicals, has impacted small business selling children products.  Expensive testing is required to monitor that these products are not harmful to children.  (See a wonderful explanation by my friend, The SmartMama, on how the new federal law is impacting small wonderful green companies. She has several articles written about the subject.)  Many people are protesting provisions of this new law, so this may change.

In the meantime, the Company will not be able to sell their re-created crayons but is still collecting them. They will continue selling their fire starters.

The Company has a Crayons-4-Crayons Exchange so for every 100 pounds of crayons that you recycle, you will receive a thank you note with a set of new recycled crayons.  In addition, the Company recycled some of the crayons into “Recolor Our World CrayonTops” which are shaped for kids and adults who have fine motor skill difficulties due to a stroke, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Arthritis, and other neurological conditions.

Additionally, the Company offers fundraising opportunities for not- for- profits through their CrayonBin Pencil Case program.  Each case contains a set of eight recycled crayons in a pouch, six pencils, an eraser and six inch ruler. For more information, about fundraising, contact the Company. It would be great if they could partner with Terracycle’s recycled pencill pouch and Smencil pencils!

Hopefully, the new law will be changed to help those companies such as The CrayonBin to continue.  I suspect that CrazyCrayons is affected at well.

Collecting crayons is a wonderful environmental activity for children.  Consider starting a collection box in your school, religious organization, or  place a box at a community building.

Want to be Creative?

Check out the following articles on what you can do with your own crayons:

Danny Seo’s post, “New Crayons from Old” of how he melted down crayons and created art with them.

DIYer Network on how to make your own crazy crayons.

Need a visual to get the concept?  Check out this
YouTube video.

With all the lead scares out there with toy products coming from China, is it best to only melt down American made crayons not ones from China?

Donate Them

Consider Freecycle your used crayons or donating them to a childcare center, or school rather than throw them in the trash.

Do you have any other suggestions what to do with your broken or unused crayons?


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Comments

  1. 2

    Jessica says

    I can not find the website crayon bin, it is still out there? I need help with recyling my schools old crayons!

    • 3

      Green Talk says

      Jessica, the first organization listed. Crazy Crayons is still taking them. I listed an address in WI and Fla. Anna

      I think Crayon Bin is out of business.

  2. 4

    says

    what a great idea. my kids have piles of crayons all around the house and they don’t even draw with them anymore – they just throw them! so maybe this is a solution…!

  3. 5

    Michele says

    I need info on how to start a program in our school. We would like to start there, then slowly add more schools, eventually incorporating the entire district.

    • 6

      says

      Michele, I just started it through my PTA as part of our green initiatives. A plastic huge jug sits on a table by all the recycling. The problem is you have to figure out where the crayons are going after you collect them. Check if you can still send to Crazy Crayons. The school will have to pay the mailing costs.

      Alternatively, see if you can give them to a lower income school, organization, etc. I get brand new crayons!!! Seriously.

      Let me know how it goes. Anna

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