NINGBO, China--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Crayons help little children recognise different colours and develop creativity. However, a great many crayons are thrown away because they are broken or simply because a child loses interest in them. In the US alone, around half a million pounds (over 220,000 kg) of crayons are discarded every year. In turn, this threatens the environment as crayons do not easily biodegrade.
University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) graduate, Linyuan Dong came up with a solution to minimise waste crayons by encouraging children to reuse them. She designed a toy-style remoulding device that is able to safely turn old crayon stubs into new ones within minutes. Her design, named “Crayon Recreator”, won her a Gold prize at the recent International Design Awards (IDA).
According to Linyuan’s research, crayons typically melt at temperatures between 40 to 60 degrees Celsius, with the average melting point around 45 degrees. Applied with an electro-thermal film, the remoulding device heats crayon stubs inside a small chamber with a maximum temperature of 60 degree Celsius. To prevent children from getting burnt, the container is covered with a thermal sensitive lid, which only opens to reveal a newly created crayon when it has cooled down sufficiently. To further motivate children to reuse crayons, the remoulding device offers two options – to produce a multicoloured crayon or to remix different colours into a new crayon.
Before competing at the IDAs, Linyuan’s project had already drawn the attention of potential manufacturers. She is now securing a patent for her design and hopes to see the product on the market in the near future.
In total, three UNNC projects won IDA gold awards, one was awarded a silver and seven received bronzes. Several design goals targeted sustainability issues, such as reducing delivery packaging by creating reusable and eco-friendly materials.
All the winning projects were developed by students from UNNC's Product Design and Manufacture programme.