Jackson County crayon recycling could be trash without cash

MAQUOKETA, Iowa -

A recycling program that keeps crayons from clogging landfills could get tossed out without cash donations.

The Hurstville Interpretive Center will no longer accept crayons for recycling after Sunday, June 18.

"Doing oddball recycling projects does fit in well with our mission here," said Naturalist Jennifer Meyer.

While the collection just started in April, it's already offering life lessons for students at Cardinal Elementary School.

"We talked a lot about recycling, reusing and renewal," said teacher Jennifer Gavin.

Crayons used by her students will take a century to break down in a landfill. That makes recycling them even more important.

Meyer collected some 200 pounds of crayons in just six weeks.  They came from classrooms, churches, restaurants and individual donors.

"I love seeing these little bits of history," she said.

It's surprising history because many don't know about crayon recycling.

"Recycling crayons probably isn't on your radar," she continued.

Meyer will send the crayons to a company called Crazy Crayons.  Based in Colorado, it will recycle them into new products for schools and not-for-profit agencies.

Soon, it will be time to ship the crayons from Maquoketa, but there's a problem.

"Hang on," she recalled.  "There's no budget for this."

It will be expensive to ship the crayons to the recycler. Each box costs $19.  Meyer expects it will total hundreds of dollars.

"It's not like I can just send this off via stork," she said.

Jen needs donations to pay for the shipping.  Otherwise, it will stop crayon recycling on Sunday, June 18.

For donation information, check: http://jacksonccb.com

"As long as I can find ways to pay for the shipping, the program can continue here," she said.

Cardinal Elementary School is among those planning to donate more crayons before the deadline. It's sending a lasting lesson for kids.

"Out of the 12 million crayons produced every single day, we're going to put a small dent in keeping these out of the waste stream," she concluded.

In Maquoketa and Jackson County, it's a small dent with a big impact, thanks to your help.