June 5, 2017

Recycling Old Crayons and New Crayon Rule

Note:  If you are a busy parent who thinks you might not read this entire post, then please just scroll down to the end where I write "but here's the part I want you to read."

Ugh!! Why make it so hard to
do the right thing?!
- - - - - - - - - -
This was supposed to be a post about making almond milk but I couldn't find almonds in bulk for less than $14.99/pound.

This is anywhere from 50 to 100% more expensive than grabbing a bag in thick plastic from the snack aisle.  Almonds aren't exactly a cheap product but there is clearly a systemic problem going on in bulk sections of groceries stores that I hope to tackle one day.

So we recycled some neighborhood crayons instead.  I suppose I did it for communal good, but mostly, I was tired of seeing THIS, around the house:

I put this box out on the porch and hit up the neighborhood Facebook groups, "Yo, bring me your old crayons."

I got enough to warrant a trip to the Post Office.

We packed a Priority box.*

And sent it to Colorado.

So, was it worth it?

10 crayons = 1 chocolate chip

1.  Gets your kids involved.  The kids were part of the entire process, from clean up to parcel.  The youngest collected crayons from around the house and helped pack the box.  The oldest brought crayons home from her school and helped me search online for a recycling center.  For an afternoon at least, they were acting as stewards of the planet.

2.  Gets the neighborhood involved.  I like to believe my efforts heightened some environmental awareness in the 'hood.  Everyone that walked to the bus stop this spring had to walk by the crayon box on my porch.  Most parents I spoke to didn't know you could even recycle crayons (nor did I before a friend dropped off a bag a year ago, assuming, correctly, I would find something to do with them).  Even if I only got a few takers, my solicitations on Facebook must have tilted a few curious heads.


1.  It cost me $13 to ship nine pounds of crayons across the country.

2.  Shipping and packing  Besides my own cash, landing these used toys at the foot of some purple mountain majesties required an additional resource expenditure.

3.  The kids really wanted to keep the 'new' crayons.  

With the cost of shipping, both monetary and material, I'm not sure I would do it again.  It might have been better to find a local shelter or care facility in need of some crayons.

But here's the part I want you to read:  Maybe the answer is, our kids don't need as many crayons in the first place.

Granted, this might be hard to control because crayons and markers and colored pencils are often received as gifts from well-meaning family and friends.  But my four-year-old is just as content with 8 crayons as she is with 80.  And if she only has a dozen to work with, each crayon magically grows in value - which I hope becomes manifest in fewer destroyed crayons littered about the home.  I say this as a mother, but mostly I wish this as a housekeeper.

So on this World Environment Day, do yourself a favor and consider setting a limit on crayons.  I bet you could reach your family quota by one or two trips to Red Robin alone.

Found this contraband in the basement...AFTER mailing the package.

*Definitely opt for the Priority Box.  I saved something like $15-20 over shipping the 9 pounds in my own box.


  1. Totally. Awesome that you recycled crayons, but I agree: Kids probably don't need that many crayons to begin with!

    1. It's amazing how the crayons seem to magically multiply. It's like it goes through the exact opposite vortex as my kids' socks and underwear.