Years ago my friend told me about crayon recycling. I did not get serious about this idea until I compiled a zillion broken crayons of my own. (Boys. Need I say more?) Since I coordinate recycling for cash at my school, I am always looking for green fundraising ideas or just plain good sense take back programs.
Crayon recycling seemed like a no brainer. Everyone had broken crayons. Just think, in an elementary school, how many broken crayons there are sitting around people’s houses. The recycling effort started off slow, but soon everyone was bringing in their crayons. Some brought them in Chinese food containers! Talk about a reuse idea. (No, they did not steal them from the Chinese restaurant…)
When I started to sort them out, I realized that recycling broken crayons to some meant giving me crayons you don’t want anymore. There were perfectly good crayons in the mix that looked like they fell out of the crayon box. There were also ones that were just missing their tips. All they needed was a good sharpening.
How many of the crayons were really broken? Maybe a 1/4 of the crayons. (Above is the bag of perfectly good crayons.) As I sorted through the crayons I became more and more confused. The following questions plagued me as:
Did people just want to get rid of their crayons and this was an easy method of disposal?
Did people truly think that the crayons they were disposing of were broken once they lost their tips? Or did their kids just not like the purple crayon? Harold did. Remember, Harold and the Purple Crayon? (Come on. You know that book. See a short You Tube video to refresh your memory.)
Was my crayon recycling just a small spoke in the wheel of our disposable society? People seemed to get new ones when there is nothing wrong with the old ones? Or am I reaching here and trying to be too philosophical? You can tell me. I know; Its just crayons…but…(Gently, people.)
Were these crayons bound for the trash can if I did not stage a crayon intervention? (Yes, this question made me chuckle. Thinking of myself as the crayon whisperer.)
Could people not have any idea what to do with their unwanted stuff?
I guess I just did not get it because this is not my mind set. I would have given these crayons to restaurants, churches, day care center, neighbors, etc. rather than send them to be made into new fun looking crayons or fire logs. However, the broken ones I was going to give them a new life and recycle them. I did not figure anyone would want the broken ones.
But, I have to realize not everyone thinks like me or has the time to figure out what they should do with the stuff they don’t want.
So what did I do with the crayons? I gave all the crayons, whether they were gently used, almost new or broken, to someone at a church. I was reluctant to give her the broken ones, but she wanted them all. She exclaimed that the kids would love them. (That made me feel good.)
I realized that I too needed to rethink the value of “broken” crayons. They were still usable but just needed to be sharpened. Does this mean I should throw away small pencils too?
So what are your thoughts about my crayon recycling adventure? Symptomatic of a bigger problem or its just crayons?
- Recycle Your Crayons Or Make Your Own Crayon Art
- Shouldn’t America Recycles Day Be Called America Reduce or Reuse Day?
- Thrifty is the New Green for Back to School Supplies
- How Would You Reuse Articles That Would Ordinarily go into the Trash?
- Reusing or Repurposing Broken Plates, Pottery, or Assorted Ceramics