Colour, Colour which colour do you choose? All of us remember doing this in our school. Those, were the golden days or more like colourful days of our lives where a box of crayons and a palette of paints was the cure to every trouble. We received them as gifts in birthday parties, we received an extravagant box for neat handwriting and every time we cried about studying, that box of colours was the only way for our parents to get us under control.
- But have you ever wondered how this box of crayons is made?
- What are the resources that go into them?
- What is the process involved?
- Are these safe to use? Are the children who are using them safe?
- Why are these crayons a little greasy and stick to your fingers when you finish your masterpiece?
The answer to all of them is a huge NO.
- These boxes of crayons are not safe.
- They are highly toxic in nature which puts the children’s safety to a huge risk.
- And above all, the resources that go into their produce are pollutants to the earth.
- This weightless box of happiness puts a huge burden on the earth and the planet needs to pay an immense price for this box of happiness.
PROCESS in making regular crayons
- Traditionally, regular crayons are made up of paraffin wax .
- This wax is a byproduct of the oil purification process.
- Through this process the wax is separated by a process known as a dewaxing process and then the wax is obtained which is further processed to get the final product of crayon.
- The wax arrives in factories in a liquid form for further modification.
- Since paraffin is a derivative of petroleum it has the inherit quality of not mixing with water.
- Thus all the colours that need to be added to the wax are in a powdered form.
- For this purpose the pigments are kiln-dried for several days leaving behind chunks of powdered colour.
- The pigments are made according to the instructions of the crayon manufacturer so as to ensure an appropriate balance in the mixture.
- Once the pigment is ready to use in its powdered form it is mixed with the paraffin wax and poured into moulds to get the shape of the crayon.
- Then these regular crayons are wrapped in a pieces of paper , branded, packed and ready to use.
CHARACTERISTICS OF PARAFFIN WAX
- Paraffin wax is obtained from crude oil or petroleum therefore it is much easier to procure this than any other sustainable type of wax.
- It is a lot more cheaper, accessible and easy to work with than other forms of wax.
- Chemically they have smaller molecules, lower melting points and resistant to water which makes it uncomplicated like alternative products of soywax or beeswax.
- Paraffin is colourless, odourless and tasteless which makes it easier for the manufactures to add any kind of colour and fragrance to the product to enhance it and make it more attractive.
CONSEQUENCES OF PARAFFIN WAX
- As rightly said, short-cuts have long and unpleasant implications. The easily procured paraffin wax has a serious impact on the environment.
- Since paraffin wax is a substitute of crude oil or petroleum its makes it a non-renewable source of energy.
- Crude oil is considered as a natural and an unsustainable source of energy.
- It has been the cause of a slew of environmental calamities, oil spill, leakage and all kinds of pollution.
- Consequently, paraffin which undergoes a number of processes and synthesis maintains its parental characteristics and thus is considered non-biodegradable.
- The life of a regular crayon is very short.
- Sometimes the colour isn’t perfect, sometimes it breaks into two or sometimes we just want to use a particular brand of crayons.
- For such reasons we throw away the whole box to satisfy our “want”.
Impact on the environment
- Every year more than half a million pounds of crayons, which is approximately a hundred million crayons are thrown away in dumps and garbage.
- These make their way to landfills and thus clogging them up for more than hundreds of years.
- Paraffin being highly toxic in nature does not breakdown naturally.
- Thus the crayons which are mostly composed of paraffin are too difficult to recycle. This causes uncontrollable damage to the environment.
- It leads to land pollution and diminishes the fertility of the soil.
- The clogged landfills keep filling in more and more every year because atleast sixty tonnes of paraffin wax eventually find its way.
Non bio degradable
- As stated earlier, regular crayons are non-biodegradable.
- It can be broken down over time by the action of bacteria. This time frame required by the bacteria to break down these sticks of poison takes upto or more than a hundred years.
- Besides for the bacteria to perform its function and to enable the breakdown process it needs to be exposed to air.
- In this rapidly and evolving world where, only the crayon sector is capable of producing millions of tonnes of toxic waste it’s disheartening to even imagine how much waste from other sectors are piling up in these landfills.
- This clogging of wastes makes it impossible for the crayons and bacteria to get air for its
- Hence, regular crayons are considered non-renewable and non-biodegradable.
Harm to children
- Paraffin wax crayons not only have a destructive impact on the earth in a huge aspects but also on the children who use these products.
- As little children tend to lick crayons or put them in their mouths, it poses a risk to their health.
- The effects although are not as drastic as the environment, but still it causes intestinal obstruction or produces a laxative effect if consumed in large quantities.
- It causes cough and diarrhoea in younger children.
- Therefore it is imperative to come up with alternative products for the safety of our planet and its children.
ALTERNATIVES OF PARAFFIN WAX
- With the rising need of sustainability and endurance, it is crucial to come up with secondary resources with which the same products can be made.
- Climate change, global pollution , greenhouse effect are all on the rise and we should take every step possible to curb these environmental disasters.
- Paraffin also has an alternative. We can use beeswax or soywax to produce crayons.
- Soywax is produced from soybeans making it a plant based and a more eco-friendly resource.
- Beeswax has more durability than paraffin and the crayons are much stronger and do not tend to break.
- Dabble has had quite an adventurous start.
- Almost two years ago, two mothers were on a hunt to find safe and sustainable crayons for their children.
- After having quite the search, when they did not find what they were looking for they decided to explore their imagination and make those earthly, non toxic crayons for their children.
- After much of trial n error and testing ,they came up with DABBLEPLAYART.
- Today after two years, Dabble is known for making non toxic crayons and paints.
- They make these boxes of happiness with sustainable and environmental friendly products to minimize wastage of resources, reduce the risk and ensure the safety of the children.
About dabble products
- The age limit for dabble non toxic crayons for children is as early as one year olds, because taking all of their messy habits the non toxic crayons are safe to use.
- They are made majorly of beeswax, coconut oil and moulded into different fun shapes instead of the conventional sticks to make colouring fun and learning.
- Dabble has 2 non toxic crayons- Chunkies for kids 1 year -2.5 years and Playart crayons for kids 2.5 years and plus. Their Finger Paints are recommended for kids 18 months plus.
- Dabble emphasizes on the importance of art, colours, imagination and thoughts in a child’s life.
- There are various ways to engage your kids with Dabble products. Check it out here How to Dabble.
- For By making these crayons toxin- free and not hazardous we have initiated our steps to a brighter and vibrant future for the earth and its tiny toddlers.
- “Messy is Creative, Messy is Fun”
As ever evolving and creative people are there is a solution that we can always come up with to any obstacle we face. In this article we talk about how crayons are causing harm to the earth and how people have taken initiatives to solve this problem.
The Crayon Initiative is one such non-profit organization which recycles and reuses crayon. Located in Danville, USA, they collect all the discarded crayons, melt them, mould them into triangular shaped crayons and
donate them to children hospitals. Crazy Crayons is another community that collects crayons and distributes it to various orphanages, schools, hospitals , care centres and so forth.
Two companies in India- Avani Earth Craft and Azafran make crayons from plant based ingredients. They use walnut hulls, veggies and flowers to make their crayons organic.
When we rewind to our childhood, it brings out a smile on our face and a part of us wants to go back to those days, where colours made life so easy. Now if we fast forward to today where we are enlightened and educated about what goes inside our happiness box it doesn’t make us that happy, does it?
But we can still make this box special by doing things alternatively.
Crayons and colours are an essential part of a child’s life but we cannot give them that at the cost of our planet, because if we do there might be a ‘present’ but no ‘future’.