Recycled Crayons – A Recipe for Creative Play
Recycled crayons are easy to make and solve the problem of what to do with the 38 tons of crayons that end up in the landfill each year.
Crayons were probably your very first art supply. The box of brand-new colours represented imaginative dreams and artistic lines at every age. The new adult colouring pages trend has even brought adults back into the crayon fold. But crayons are an enigma.
According to the Crayon Initiative, there are 60 tons of paraffin wax crayons manufactured in the United States, alone, every single day, about 12 million crayons. And that’s just Crayola’s contribution. 38 tons of crayons end up in landfills every year. I wonder what happens to the other 21,862 tons of crayons every year? Are they sitting broken in kitchen drawyers and pencil boxes, neglected? Did our kids chew them up? Did they end up on paper on refrigerator doors and classroom walls as art?
Other Crayon Trivia:
- The average American child wears down 720 crayons by their 10th birthday.
- 100+ million crayons are tossed out annually by family restaurant chains.
- The first nontoxic crayon marketed to kids was sold in a package of 8 colours and sold for 5cents in 1903.
- Crayola is the number one manufacturer of kid’s crayons and alone produces 12 million crayons a day, 60 billion annually in the USA.
Every August parents of preschoolers and elementary students buy a box of crayons. Last year’s crayons are half used and broken, lying in the kitchen drawer or a box, neglected, but not useless. Don’t throw them out. Crayons are made with paraffin wax and lab-created pigments. They are petroleum products. They never break down in the landfill. They aren’t biodegradable.
Make recycled crayons
But you can remake them. This is a fun project so enlist the help of your kids or grandkids. Try this on a rainy day and infuse new life into a discarded toy and teach the value of Reuse, Remake and Recycle at the same time.
Don’t do this on the stovetop or in the microwave. Wax is flammable and will spontaneously ignite when it reaches a certain temperature. Use a low-temperature oven instead.
Skill level: Easy
Crayon Tarts from recycled crayons
You will need:
Broken or discarded crayons
Silicone muffin cups or silicone molds, (ice cube trays, chocolate molds)
With the help of your kids, peel the paper off the old crayons. If you soak the crayons in warm water the wrappers will peel off, effortlessly.
Chop up the broken crayons into small pieces no more than 1/4 inch long.
Prepare silicone molds by greasing them lightly with coconut oil.
Place broken crayons into the bottom of each silicone mold. Don’t fill the silicone more than 2/3rd full. The hot melted wax will expand in the mold.
Place like colours together. If you mix all the colours in one muffin tin you will get a muddy brown. Try to keep the colours in separate tins — blue and green together, red and orange together, yellow and green, red and purple, brown and gold, or grey, white, and silver. As the crayons melt they will blend together. Place in a low oven — 180F — and bake until crayons are melted. About 20 minutes.
Take them out of the oven and let them cool completely.
Remove from the silicone mold.
To use the new crayon turn it on its edge. Try different areas on the shaped crayon for different lines and colour effects.
Don’t have time to do this with the kids?
There are a few projects that recycle crayons:
Crazy Crayons upcycles unwanted crayons into new crayons for sale.
The Crayon Initiative creates upcycled crayons and passes them on to schools and hospitals.
What do you do with broken crayons? What recycled crafts have you done with kids that have excited their imaginations and creativity? Leave a comment.