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USask group prevents 11K crayons from going to landfills through upcycling program

University of Saskatchewan students are providing art supplies to the next generation and teaching them about waste reduction through an upcycling program.

A group of students contributing to the Enactus program have created Re-colour, an initiative to repurpose art supplies within Saskatoon.

The project has also prevented 11,000 crayons from going to local landfills.

“A team member noticed a bunch of crayons going to waste while they were working at a restaurant,” said Enactus co-president Rebecca Keindel.

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The group began partnering with local restaurants, their largest contributors being Montana’s and Olive Garden. They also take donations from Saskatoon households.

They collect partially used crayons from the business on a monthly basis and bring them back to campus.

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“We have ‘production night’ where we go through the process of peeling, sorting and melting the crayons into a bunch of fun shapes and thicker crayons to prevent breakage,” said Keindel.

The old crayons are melted down and poured into new shapes.

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For the past year and a half, the new crayons have been distributed to local organizations in need across Saskatoon.

“I really love giving back and it’s great to see the smiles on the kids’ faces when they get those crayons and open it up and see all of the funky shapes. They just love it so much,” said project manager Maahi Shah.

Nearly 30 people helped contribute to the project.

“It is important to divert as much waste as we can,” Keindel said. “These crayons just end up in the landfill, but they are potentially able to be used by children in the community.”

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She also said that the program has allowed her and fellow students to apply skills they learn in the classroom to the real world.

The upcycled crayons can be purchased at The Better Good on Broadway Street in Saskatoon.

All of the proceeds are being put back into the Enactus Re-colour project.

The team will be travelling to Calgary March 16 to compete in a Canadian exposition celebrating student entrepreneur programs.

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