Turning Unwanted Crayons Into Gifts of Love for Sick Kids

Let’s help every child’s imagination run wild

May 1, 2017
Special Collections: REDUCE REUSE RECYCLE
Recycling unwanted crayons into unlimited possibilities (The Crayon Initiative)

Recycling unwanted crayons into unlimited possibilities (The Crayon Initiative)

As kids, we loved pressing the restaurant’s crayons across the kid’s menu placemats, passing the time until our food arrived. Although we may not have wondered about the crayons’ fate, Bryan Ware was curious about the leftover art supplies. While out enjoying his birthday dinner with family in 2011, the waiter brought Ware’s two sons their art supplies.

After asking what the restaurant did with the crayons, he discovered they were tossed out after use. Rattled by the experience, Ware started thinking of ways he could put these unwanted crayons to better use.

Every year, around 75,000 pounds of crayons are thrown away by restaurants and schools in the US alone. To tackle this massive wast, Ware created the Crayon Initiative, that sends the repurposed art supplies to children in hospitals around California.

To recycle restaurant crayons, Ware sorts all crayons by color, melts them down, and then pours them into custom molds. So far, Ware and his boys have delivered more than 2,000 boxes of crayons to sick kids.

Not only does this decrease the waste going into landfills, but it also provides children an artistic outlet while they’re receiving treatment. “If these crayons give them an escape from that hospital room for ten minutes, we did our job,” Ware said.

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REBECCA WOJNO, CONTRIBUTOR
Rebecca is passionate about reading, cooking, and learning about people doing good in the world. She especially loves writing about wellness, personal growth, and relationships.

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