Some objects are not that easy to recycle. Sometimes it's simpler to throw them in the bin. For example, thousands of old crayons from all over the country get thrown away without being recycled.
In the US, entrepreneur Kim Martonosi decided to find a way to help with the crayon problem by creating her business, Crazy Crayons. With the help of her kids, she sorts the worn and broken wax sticks by colour. Then, they melt the bins of blues, greys, light greens and pinks down to a gooey swirl before shaping the goo into new creations like stars, earthworms and simple sticks.
Over the past 25 years, Crazy Crayons has salvaged just over 120,000 pounds of colourful wax, the equivalent of about 12 million new colouring tools.
Crayons can not just be thrown into one of the recycling bins as they're made from petroleum-derived paraffin wax, not plastic, paper or metal.
To make our world a better place, we need to start recycling waste objects. However, just like Martonosi, most people responsible for unusual recycling function independently of the government.
But how does one recycle items such as toothbrushes or shoes?
To recycle old toothbrushes, we look at the recycling program called TerraCycle, working with the Colgate brand. TerraCycle transforms old toothbrushes, squeezed-out toothpaste tubes, empty floss containers, battered toothbrushes, and all their packaging into new plastic products.
Let's focus on the next recycling item, shoes. Once you see your athletic shoes are worn out, don't throw them away. Instead, donate them to a local organisation that will accept them. For example, in the US, you can look up From The Sole or Soles for Shoes, and they will help you find a new home for your shoes.
Or, when your sneakers have really seen the end of their days and are well and truly busted, you can donate them to any Nike or Converse store. As part of their Reuse-A-Shoe program, Nike has collected more than 28 million pairs of athletic shoes since the 1990s. They've partnered with other companies to turn your destroyed footwear into track surfaces, basketball courts, and playgrounds.
Another company trying to do better with worn-out footwear is Asics. Asics has partnered with a recycling company called I:CO to transform your junk sneakers into new products – like soles for new shoes.
Oh, yes, let's not forget the first topic of discussion on how to recycle crayons. You can take your crumbled old art supplies to the National Crayon Recycle Program in Colorado, USA, which collects the materials for Crazy Crayons.
Another easy way to make new crayons is to start a crayon recycling program yourself. Gather all the colours in different containers, melt them and create new colour crayons from the leftover small ones. Or, you can be creative and melt them onto a canvas to make stunning artwork. Who knows... you might just be the next Picasso!