Kids, Minus the plastic
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Crayon Recycling – To the rescue of restaurant crayons

Crayon Recycling, just drop them off where kids are

Since we’re parents we’ve learned to eat quickly. The phase in which both of us can eat at the same time is usually short. Even in a restaurant, we’ll ingest our food like mad vacuum cleaners after a dust diet.

In the beginning of our restaurant visit we’re a peaceful family but slowly and steadily we’ll turn into a chaotic pile of people.
June will start singing ‘Let it go’ like we were in a huge Opera Theater, or stomp with her feet on the wall above her head, just to say ‘Mom, look what I’m doing!“. Her favorite words these days.

And Mika wants what June is eating, grabs Dad’s knife, requests to be held by mommy. His arms turn into octopus tentacles. Who ever holds little Mika has to move everything on the table far away and can’t eat anymore. 

We went to this restaurant in the Heights again. There was a painting sheet with crayons so that June didn’t think of dancing on the table and other fun things like that. So that’s really helpful.

The owner of the restaurant recognized me from our visit before that. Surprisingly, since that was roughly 6 months earlier. Maybe the talk about throwing away crayons that I had held during our first visit was still in his head. I had mentioned a number of initiatives that turn unwanted crayons into wanted crayons (The crayon initiative, National Crayon Recycle Program,  Crayon Collection) and save them from ending up in landfills. 

The basket with ‘used’ crayons was visible in the kitchen. Most of them where really never used at all. They were looking at me during our whole stay at the restaurant, pleading for help, and so I couldn’t resist talking to the restaurant owner again. I mean, there are obviously unused crayons piling up, just waiting to be tossed in the trashcan. How could I not talk to him about this?

This time though I tried a different route. I told him about the day care that is just on the other side of the street. Right there is a huge demand for crayons on a daily basis. Why not walk over once in a while and drop them off? 

I offered to bring them to the day care for him. Bastian was almost bursting with laughter when I had the nerve to request an environmentally friendly brown bag for the crayons instead of the offered zip lock bag. What can I do, right? Once you see all the trash, you can’t make it unseen.

That night I dreamed of creating a local facebook group with the name ‘Crayon Partners Hood River‘ to connect restaurants and day cares, preschools and others in need.  I managed to resist this urge after waking up. There are simply too many projects going on for me right now.

Rescue restaurant crayons!

The kids in the day care were happy to see the refill of their crayon box.

So what do you think? Isn’t throwing perfectly fine crayons in the trash just because one kid had already used them a huge waste of resources? Do you know of a crayon ‘rescue’ program in your area?

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10 Comments

  1. This is honestly something that wouldn’t cross my mind! I definitely have to look into a crayon recycling program near me because I have so many younger siblings and cousins with BINS full of crayons! I’ve also seen on Pinterest of using melted down crayon wax to make candles. Just another idea of reusing them!

    • I’ve heard of melting crayons to get them back into a shape for more drawings but I would hesitate to make candles out of them because they are petroleum based, but I’m not an expert.

  2. I love how you step up and do something rather than just wish people could be less wasteful. It’s something I definitely need to work on (I’m always embarrassed to be the weird one) – I find people are almost always happy to reduce waste if you just talk to them.

    • Thanks a lot, Julia. I’m often kicking myself afterwards for stepping up again, for always being ‘the weird’ one, again. If I don’t do it though, I can’t sleep because those things follow me in my dreams. I gave up resisting the urge to keep my mouth shut and now I sleep much better.

  3. What a great idea! I never thought about what the restaurants do with the crayons. We rarely go out to eat because it is insanity but when we do they have crayons. I will keep this in mind when we go out to eat again. Thanks!

    • There is a restaurant here that does it the right way: They have sturdy boxes with large crayons and they hand them out to kids over and over again till they are used up. Nothing tossed. Thanks for reading and your comment.

  4. I’m so glad you made the connections and made sure that happened! Hopefully they will pick up the habit and start donating them on their own.

  5. Did you contact TerraCycle ? Here in France, we collect pens to send them back for recycling. One option among many other
    Congratulation for the way you spread your world 😉

  6. I love restaurants that provide crayons. I also think they are brave. Working in office cleaning Bristol I know how hard it is to get crayon stains out of white table cloths!

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