Crayons — those cheery, ubiquitous coloring implements, are likely lurking in your purse, hiding in at least five different drawers throughout your house, and leaving their mark on countless masterpieces from your child. Unfortunately, you can also find them filling landfills: between 45,000-75,000 broken and discarded crayons end up in landfills across the country each year, where the wax sits and sits for centuries. The Crayon Initiative aims to give crayons a second life with a higher purpose by recycling them and donating the new and improved crayons, with a thicker and easier-to-grasp shape, to children’s hospitals.
The Crayon Initiative’s founder Bryan Ware found inspiration while coloring at a restaurant with his kids. After finding out that many crayons are discarded after a single use due to hygiene concerns, Ware decided to repurpose the crayons. A manufacturing consultant, Ware used his expertise to create crayon dropboxes at family-friendly restaurants (The Crayon Initiative is also working on a school collection program). He also took on the manufacturing of these new crayons at his own home by sorting, melting, and molding them into a shape that he created alongside a physical therapist. The Crayon Initiative has thus far created over 10,000 crayons, which are then donated to art programs in children’s hospitals with the goal of giving young patients an artistic outlet to help relieve stress and anxiety.