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Iowa Crayon Recycling Program shows cost of handling unique items

Compared to the many, many tons of other refuse and recyclables that the industry deals with every year, crayons may seem like a minor element. According to another collection program, The Crayon Initiative, broken crayons account for about 500,000 pounds of landfill material year. Yet in the quest for "zero waste" and higher diversion rates any materials helps and the non-biodegradable wax inside of the classic children's items has made them a popular target.

Like any material, if crayon stubs can be collected seperately from schools, hospitals and restaurants there is a market for them. In addition to Crazy Crayons and The Crayon Initiative, another group called The Crayon Collection also makes use of the materials. TerraCycle does as well, accepting crayons in its "Art Supplies Zero Waste Box" Though as highlighted by the costs of shipping mutiple $19 boxes from Iowa, let alone the $117 box for TerraCycle, collecting unique waste streams is rarely cheap. 

Special collection programs now exist for batteries, gum, cigarette butts, car seats and much more. While certain materials need to be separated for safety reasons, there are some in the industry that argue it's more efficient from an environmental and economic standpoint to process everything together after extracting more common recyclables.