Sisters Recycle Crayons to Inspire Passion for the Arts

Apr 10, 2017 12:00 PM ET

At just 15 and 12 years old, Abby and Riley Neff recognize the importance of the arts. “The arts are like a bridge,” said Abby. “They bring people together.”

So when the girls realized that many kids in their community of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, didn’t have access to simple art supplies, they set out to find a solution. They thought of the most basic craft supply – crayons.

“We went to restaurants and asked what they did with their used crayons,” said Riley. “Most just threw them away, so we asked if we could have them.”

And that’s how Recycled Rainbows was born. Abby and Riley now collect crayons from local restaurants, community members, churches and museums every 2-3 weeks. They take them home, peel off the wrappers, melt the crayons down and pour them into molds to create new ones.

“When we started we didn’t really know what we were doing,” Riley said. “We used old pots to melt them down and poured them into a couple of silicone molds and started popping them out.”

What started as a small project in their kitchen has now grown and expanded into their garage. To date, they have made and donated 15,000 crayons and are expanding with local partnerships like their local Boys & Girls Club and different schools in the area.

Read the full story on the Points of Light blog