Crayons work like magic for young ones, even with a tablet in the room. With crayons, children gain freedom, expression, and confidence. It is with these drawing tools that they first learn to create their own marks in the world, and that’s something that the Crayon Initiative really understands. Based in Danville, CA, the Crayon Initiative is a non-profit organization committed to providing children with resources to help them “express their creativity and individuality through the arts.” The organization recycles your old and unwanted crayons into new ones for kids in need. You might wonder, “Why not just buy a new box from the store?” Well, according to one study, nearly 500,000 pounds of broken crayons end up in landfills every year. Bryan Ware, Founder and President of the initiative, created a consulting firm where he specialized in packaging, product design, and manufacturing processes. He has advised a number of big name companies, including Google, and is now using what he’s learned to foster a love for the arts among our youth.In 2013, Bryan Ware of Northern California was at a restaurant where kids were coloring with free crayons. As he watched them, he wondered happened to the excess. He discovered that if the crayons had been slightly used or touched, they had to be tossed at the end of the night.
That’s when he got the idea for the Crayon Initiative, in which he’d give old crayons new life for children in need. And he started it in his own living room.
Ware has a great team to help him sort the crayons by color before melting them back down.
After the crayons are melted down, they are strained and poured into a special mold that creates easy grip crayons.
With the help of an occupational therapist, the initiative fashioned these triangular rather than circular shaped crayons for better grip. That way, every child can draw with minimal problems.
Over 500,000 pounds of broken crayons are thrown away every year, and they’re usually not biodegradable. Through the Crayon Initiative, old crayons are recycled and enjoyed more fully. This process is also much better for the environment.
The recycled crayons are beautifully packaged and sent off to local hospitals such as the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, where coloring helps young patients express their creativity/
The Crayon Initiative has donated over 2,000 boxes to both hospitals and schools across California, and they’re continuing to expand.
There’s nothing like a blank piece of paper and a box of crayons to express yourself. You’d be surprised at what you can create, there really are no limits, and that’s the sort of magic that Ware, his team, and volunteers are aiming for.
Bryan Ware used his experience in product design and manufacturing to do something good. Isn’t it inspiring? Now, it’s your turn. Use your talents and skills to change the world today.