What Happens to All Those Unwanted, Broken or Much Loved Crayons?

August 29, 2019

Did you know each year up to 75,000 pounds of broken or unwanted crayons are thrown away and end up in U.S. landfills?

Crayons are made of paraffin wax, a by-product of petroleum or crude oil, which negatively impacts wildlife where drilling occurs. Crayons can also leave a waxy sludge in landfills, which doesn’t decompose for decades.

Throughout the new school year, instead of throwing away used crayons, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo guests can donate them. CMZoo’s Coloring for Conservation team makes Coloring Critters: animal-shaped crayons made from recycled crayons.

The demand for crayons is astonishing. In the United States alone, more than 12 million new crayons are made every day! This translates into nearly 120,000 pounds or 60 tons of new crayons each day (100 crayons equal approximately one pound). What can you do to help prevent all these crayons from ending up in landfills?

Participants who stop by the Coloring for Conservation booth at one of the below events can give a donation of crayons, pick up a recycled crayon to take home or color at the Zoo with a recycled crayon.

The Coloring for Conservation booth will be available to accept crayon donations during International Vulture Awareness Day at the Zoo, on Saturday, Sept. 7, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Keep an eye out for more opportunities to donate your own crayons and receive a Coloring Critter at upcoming animal awareness days at the Zoo.

On these designated days, Coloring Critters will also be available for you to take home! So, bring used crayons to our booth, learn how we create Coloring Critters, make a donation to conservation and take home a colorful wax animal-shaped crayon. It’s a fun and creative way to help animals and the environment.