By Sandy Meyer

Riverview resident Manav Kannan is not only a second grade student at Stowers Elementary, he is fast becoming a philanthropist with his desire to help others. The 7-year-old has begun an initiative to collect broken crayons and have them recycled into new ones to be given to children’s hospitals.

Manav and his mother, Lavanya Balasubramanian, weren’t sure what to do with the many used and broken crayons they had accumulated over the years which prompted them to begin a search for ideas. They found that crayons are not biodegradable and become waxy sludge in landfills. Further searches found a recycling initiative started by Bryan Ware, a California businessman and father of two.

The Crayon Initiative organizes crayon collections that take unwanted crayons, remanufactures them, and provides them to children’s hospitals. Between 45,000 and 75,000 pounds of crayons are disposed of in landfills in the United States each year. The Crayon Initiative is trying to reduce those numbers by collecting these unwanted crayons and recycling them into a new, usable crayon. More information can be found at thecrayoninitiative.org.

Bringing the Crayon Initiative to the Tampa area seemed the perfect way for Manav to fulfill his desire to help.

“He always wanted to volunteer and help out. And our motto has been spending a part of his time for any good cause, volunteering time is giving up a part of your life that you can never earn back, and hence we encouraged this in our child,” said Balasubramanian.

Manav and his mother began speaking with local schools and already Stowers Elementary, Dunbar Elementary, Brandon, Riverview, Southshore Montessori Schools and the Boyette Elementary PTA are on board to begin collecting the crayons which Manav’s family will mail to the recycling plant in California at their own cost. “We constantly tell Manav to be the change that you wish to see in the world. Hopefully he will know to give more and gracefully than to receive by the time he’s an adult,” said Lavayna.

For more information on how to join in this initiative, email Lavayna at lavanyakannan_2000@yahoo.co.uk.