According to the Crayon Initiative, more than half of the crayons used in restaurants, schools, and homes are thrown out and turned into a waxy sludge that clogs landfills and will not biodegrade. Most of the population throw crayons out after one use, especially restaurants, due to sanitary reasons.
The story goes that founder Bryan Ware was with his family at dinner one evening and asked himself and his wife the question of what happens to the crayons after they are used. He started a company, the Crayon Initiative, in California in 2014, and it has since grown into something more.
"Each year is exponential growth, it's been pretty in terms of crayons coming in, the support coming in," says Ware.
So far, the company has collected 31,670,451 crayons and turned around and donated 291,150 of them to patients in hospitals all over the nation.
The process is simple. The crayons are donated by restaurants, schools, and homes, then sorted into piles of their specific color, cooked down and reshaped before being molded. Then, they are redistributed to hospital art programs across the U.S., giving young patients and their families a little bit of happiness in the middle of what could be, potentially, a very stressful time.
In fact, it made it all the better for him when he went to visit one of the hospitals that were receivers of his crayons and met a young girl who didn't speak English.
"Her eyes lit up and she starts coloring and is like, this is cool. It's one of those things kids instinctively get and it brings adults back to their childhood," Ware said in an interview.
And, as if there couldn't be any more good news, Ware doesn't take a salary and the entire thing is done by volunteers.
I think this is such an amazing thing because not only does it help the environment, but it helps children who are stuck in hospitals have something to help keep their mind off the reason they are in the hospital in the first place. It is extra important to me because, with all of the visits I've had growing up, the ones that I remember the most are when I was given a toy or pillow or something to make me comfortable.
Of course, none of my visits (at least after the first two or three) were ever super serious and more of just making sure everything was ok.
If you would like a chance to donate or know anyone that would click here for more info and the official website.