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Service industry worker notices troubling issue with their restaurant’s kids’ offering: ‘Is there anything I can do?’

“I work at a restaurant chain and I find myself throwing out hundreds of crayons each week off tables.”

Kids, Menu crayons

Photo Credit: iStock

If you’ve ever asked yourself what to do with stray crayons, you’re not alone. One Redditor looking to keep an “ungodly amount” of crayons out of the landfill took to Reddit to crowdsource some ideas.

I work at a restaurant chain and I find myself throwing out hundreds of crayons each week off tables,” the Redditor writes, noting that the restaurant can’t reuse them even if they’re still in their plastic packaging.

“I know it’s not the worst thing in the world to toss and the plastic waste is far more concerning, but I’ve started pocketing the untouched crayons because the sheer amount of waste makes me sad,” the user writes. “Is there anything I can do with such a bulk amount?”

Most parents and teachers have experienced the crayon surplus problem. They seem to multiply. And while they can seem like an easy thing to toss into the trash, there’s every reason to keep them out of landfills.

Crayons are predominantly made from paraffin wax — a petroleum byproduct — which can take years (centuries, even) to decompose in landfills.

Redditors chime in with a number of suggestions, such as donating to schools, day cares, and children’s hospitals.

According to one Redditor, The Crayon Initiative collects used crayons to donate, and another organization, Crazy Crayons, recycles crayons.

Another Redditor also recommends The Crayon Initiative. “They melt down used crayons and give them to children’s hospitals and schools,” they write. “At hospitals we cannot accept used crayons due to germs (though if in original packaging, schools and day cares may be able to), but we are able to accept donations from the Crayon Initiative! Please look into them, I know I’ve heard they accept restaurant donations.”

Another Redditor offers a different idea. “A lady in my area melts them down in [silicone] molds and sells the resulting fun-shaped crayons as little gifts and party favors,” they write. “She’ll make two or three color combinations and charges like $4 for the new crayon. You could have a healthy side hustle.”

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