Arvada family recycles old crayons into new creations

The Martonosis bought Crazy Crayons in June


For the past nine months, the Martonosi family in Arvada has been working to keep crayons out of landfills by recycling them into new creations.

Kim and Attila Martonosi bought Crazy Crayons and The National Crayon Recycle Program from Luann Foty, of Lake City, in June and have been working to give the business new life.

The Martonosis wanted a business that helps the environment. When they saw that Crazy Crayons was for sale, they knew it was right for them.

“We’re so wasteful as humans,” Kim Martonosi said. “If I can do my part some way to eliminate that, it makes me feel good.”

The business, which runs out of their Arvada home, also teachers their three daughters how to be responsible for their own waste.

“That was really important to us,” Attila Martonosi said. “We want to make sure we’re helping them grow as individuals and establish good habits.”

Boxes of recycled crayons arrive daily at the Martonosi house. They come from scouts, churches, restaurants and private individuals. Many are broken in bits and pieces or the nubs left after a hard coloring session. Others are full, discarded after a single use because of sanitary reasons. Sometimes, the crayons are accompanied by a note about the children and grandchildren who used them.

“When we bought the business, that’s when we realized how big the recycling portion was,” Attila Martonosi said, adding that two days after the mail delivery was switched to their house, crayons started arriving.

They estimate that 30 to 100 pounds of recycled crayons are delivered each day.

The crayons are then sorted into color and those that cannot be certified as non-toxic are discarded.

Once sorted, crayons are melted in crockpots and poured into molds of new fun shapes like Ecostars, alphabet letters, animals and the company’s popular creation — the Recycle Crayon Sticks.

Colors are mixed to fabricate new solid colors such as periwinkle and to make multi-colored patterns.

The new crayons are then sold to individuals through the company’s website, craft fairs and to gift shops both near and far, including the Denver Zoo and the Saguaro Cactus Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The paper crayon wrappers are also up-cycled and sold as fire starters.

One thing the Martonosis have been working on changing since they acquired the company is switching the packaging from a single-use plastic to an eco-friendly paperboard that can be recycled.

“It’s neat to find out how big some organizations are about recycling,” Attila Martonosi said. “We hope by the end of the year to eliminate all single-use plastic from product.”


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