restaurant crayons
Source: TripAdvisor

Dad recycles all tossed-out crayons from restaurants, gives them to kids hospitals


May 17 2024, Updated 12:57 p.m. ET

Eating out with young children can be challenging. Getting them to sit still before the food arrives and keeping them occupied during the meal can be a Herculean task. Thankfully, many eateries have a nifty little trick to make sure the kiddos have something to do while you ponder what your order will be: crayons.

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Depending on how artistically inclined the kiddos are, their time filling in the blank drawings on the back of their children's menu could range from a few seconds to a few minutes, but even so, every little tyke who walks into the restaurant gets their own small pack of crayons.

What you may not know, however, is that every one of those crayons won't see the light of day again, usually.

That's right, the crayons are tossed out, mostly for hygiene purposes, plus it just doesn't look right handing a new guest some spaghetti or honey mustard crusted used crayons from previous eaters.

This was news to father and entrepreneur Bryan Ware who, while eating out with his family one night, wondered just what happened to the crayons that they gave to the tons of kiddos dining there each and every day.

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restaurant crayons
Source: Reddit

When he learned about their fate, he was shocked to hear that they were not only tossed out but that they turn into a "waxy sludge that never biodegrades and clogs up landfills." The more Bryan investigated, the more he discovered the severe ecological impact: more than 500,000 pounds of crayons, equating to approximately 60 million crayons, were discarded daily.

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That's when he decided to launch The Crayon Initiative, an organization that collects crayons slated to be tossed from restaurants, schools, and homes from all across America. The group melts these crayons down and remolds them into new, fatter crayons that are easier to grip for young children and those with special needs.

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the crayon initiative recycled crayons
Source: The Crayon Initiative

The Crayon Initiative then delivers the re-processed and repackaged crayons to Children's hospitals all over America, and they're constantly building new partnerships.

Being a volunteer for The Crayon Initiative is easy, and there are tons of schools that encourage their students to bring in their broken or unused crayons to donate to the organization.

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Social media's packed with photos of happy students who are either on the giving or receiving end of the Crayon Initiative's good work. Some student groups take a more active role, participating in the crayon recycling process by boiling, molding, and repackaging the crayons for kids across the country.

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If you're interested in getting your workplace, school, or community group to help volunteer for The Crayon Initiative, then you can learn more on the organization's website here.

This article was originally published on January 27, 2021. It has since been updated.


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