When most people think of restaurant rubbish, they imagine spoiled products and uneaten remains. Within a year, around 11.4 million tonnes of food waste is dumped in the catering sector [PDF]. But Sheila Michail Morovati had a different kind of restaurant rubbish in her head when she took her then-to -ddler to eat almost ten years ago. As in many family businesses, the place distributed brand-new boxes of crayons to paint children's menus, and when the check was paid, Morovati left the barely-used crayons to be disposed of along with the leftovers.
"I noticed that all the tables around me were doing the same thing and kept thinking: there are budget cuts in education, spending on teachers has skyrocketed, [and] there is no art education anymore," Morovati says Mental floss. "So I just decided to ask some restaurants to collect the crayons left by the kids."
This initiative, which took place nearly a decade ago, has become an international action. Today, Crayon Collection operates in nine countries and in all 50 states. The organization's goal is simple: to save crayons in good condition, which are destined for garbage, and to provide classrooms in underserved school districts has been donated to more than 1
Crayon Collection aims to remove the 150 million crayons thrown away by restaurants every year, but their impact goes beyond the environment. Usually these are the first programs, and when those schools have art supplies, pay the teachers often out of pocket. However, if the schools have a family restaurant in their community, they may be paying a source of free, practically new pens.
"Not only did we fully support [teachers] in one area of the classroom, but we also raised awareness of why this is so. It's important not to put that pressure on teachers," says Morovati. "It's just such a sustainable and great win-win situation."
The organization gets most of its crayons from restaurants. Since the crayons that are issued in restaurants are used – if at all – for just a few minutes, there is little difference between them and crayons that have been newly purchased in the store. But anyone can donate gently used crayons that he has at home to a collection point. The Crayon Collection's Color Kindness program encourages children who have leftover crayons at the end of the school year to pack them in bundles and send them to an underfunded school with a handwritten note. The recipients will not only benefit from the gift, but the children's channel will also receive a lesson in prepayment.
The progress of the Crayon Collection shows no sign of slowing down. Last year, the organization broke the Guinness World Record for most charity donated crayons in 8 hours by collecting more than 1 million crayons for Los Angeles schools. One of the most recent projects of the charitable organization is a collaboration with Penguin Young Readers. The publisher designed special collection boxes labeled with children's book The Day the Crayons Quit to send to 3000 restaurants across the country. Anyone can involve their community by becoming a crayon ambassador and recruiting local restaurants to request a box and keep their old crayons for a donation.
Morovati is confident that they will be there when you inform restaurants in your neighborhood about Crayon Collection receptive to the idea. "When I started, I talked to different restaurants and kept trying to explain the whole process," she says. "Now they understand from the beginning, like" Oh, we're already there. "I want this to be a social norm that does not make people throw away good stuff like those crayons, I hope this is a symbolic behavioral change in the direction of many other things – plastic straws are one of them, plastic water bottles – practically everything, what still has life and could be used. "