Recycling is a popular and effective way to protect the environment. Some Chicago families are taking it one step further. They say all it takes is a little time and creativity.
Jennifer Khatchatrian, founder of Chicago Smart Green Families said, "As any parent would know you have a multitude of broken, nubby crayons laying everywhere -- in the car, in the house, in the art bin and so what we do is melt those down because the kids aren't using them and turn them into ones they're going to use again."
It's a simple recipe. First, remove the paper from old, broken crayons. Fill an old cupcake tin with a variety of colors. Pop the tray in the oven at 250-degrees. And leave it just long enough for the crayons to melt. After a quick cool down, you now have brand new psychedelic crayons.
It's this week's "play date" project for the Chicago Smart Green Families. Jennifer Khatchatrian started the group recently to give her own children an eco-friendly outlet.
"I have two boys, two and four, and I couldn't find programs that focused on nature that focused on science and art, but using eco-friendly products and having an environmental focus," explained Khatchatrian.
The result is a group of like-minded families who meet several times a week. They say it's fun and educational for the kids while useful for the parents.
"It was an excellent time to come and learn a little bit more about recycling and other things that were in our environment that I didn't realize was a problem, said Kim Robertson who just joined the group.
"It's good to have people that support you and share ideas," added Michelle Gasinski, who is also a member of Chicago Smart Green Families. "It not only builds creativity, but it also benefits us just as a whole with our environment and giving back to our community in that way."
The moms also do a magazine exchange, ensuring that each magazine is purchased just once, but enjoyed several times. Afterwards they become a source for new art projects.
Making psychedelic crayons is just one way to re-use crayons. They can also be used to make candles and to touch up nicks in furniture, just to name a few.