But I’m Just a Server

waiter-1490043-1279x1705

Let’s have a quick “get to know the voice” moment. My name is Tobin and I am a foodie. This is a qualifying statement so that you can know that the soliloquy I am about to launch into comes with years of back-story and passion.

I am 4+ years removed from food and beverage, where once I held the keys to 4 separate kingdoms. I was the F&B Manager at a prestigious golf club, and Assistant General Manager at a fine dining steak house, a General Manager at a Michelin recognized seafood restaurant and a partner in a bar and grill in San Francisco. For 15 years, I toiled in the service industry making sure that people’s lofty expectations were met while simultaneously struggling with my own internal “is this it?” soul searching. Eventually I wrote myself out of the industry with my book “What Seems To Be the Problem (a Restaurant Managers Tale)”, but I have since been compelled to inspire other foodies to realize that what you do to keep the lights on does not always define you as a person.

Why then is this a topic being explored here on The Crayon Initiatives blog site?

Well as a representative of TCI, our largest contributor to our goal is the restaurant business. One of the sparks that ignited our plight came from a restaurant table and wondering just where do the sorry, broken and rubbed down nubs of crayons end up after the 10 and unders are done gnawing on them, rubbing them into carpets and dropping them into their ketchup. When we started to peel back the layers of damage to our environment by simply dropping them in the trash at the end of a busy shift, we realized that something had to be done. That call to action resulted in the design and construction of our deposit boxes that could be left at the hostess stand of any restaurant for the deposit and regular gathering of these sad little crayons at the end of their life. By starting here, we knew we could gather enough crayons to recycle into brand new crayons for distribution to Children’s Hospitals all over the Country.

Here is where you the server come in. It has been my experience that at some point in most servers’ career, they start to desire something more fulfilling than delivering food and drinks. On the whole, servers are deeply caring individuals that are really aware of carbon footprints and the deeply rooted desire to please others. Why else would they practice their craft daily? The joy received from delivering a nice night out needs to be harvested and often time duplicated, but how? After all, you’re just a server, right? WRONG!

As far as we are concerned you are our liaison. Next time you go to any restaurant, be it yours or a favorite place to dine, take a quick glance around for one of our collection boxes. If there is not one there, you have just found the answer to “how can I make a difference?”

You can contact us directly to explore the options on how to get The Crayon Initiative involved with your restaurant. Once the unassuming and subtle boxes are posted in a centralized location, you can bring the message to your tables. Let them know that you have been proactive about the concerns with used crayons going into the landfills and are currently collecting them so they can be given new life in the hands of those that need them most. Behind the scenes, we can work out all the details.

Never sell yourself short of the potential that you have and never rest on the laurels that there is nothing you can do. There certainly is a way to make a deep impact and it all starts with you!

Contact us through this website! We can’t wait to find out how together we can make a real difference.

5 Ways to Save Our Planet, Today!

green-earth-1144864-1600x1600

The very first time that I heard the term “carbon footprint”, my thought was “that would be a great name for a hard rock band”. You know a group of high school kids that have decided to make a run at Metallica fame by practicing in the garage and hoping to get a chance to play at the dance.

Little did I know what life with kids would do to change my tongue and cheek approach to saving our planet.

While my wife was pregnant with our first child, we happened across the documentary “Forks Over Knives” and our minds were peeled back. Like any good glutton, I devoured media in an effort to learn more about extending my time on the planet by preserving my body and the ground we were walking on. Enter the term “carbon footprint”.

The best part about a term so ominous and daunting was that with simple steps, anybody’s carbon footprint is reversible, or at least able to be less impressionable. For most, including myself, starting out is the hardest part. Once I decided to minimize my carbon footprint I wanted to walk out my front door to a lush garden full of my food for the week, get into my Prius and drive to my job saving the whales, but finding my starting point was elusive.

Here then are 5 practical ways that you can make simple adjustments to your daily routine that will feed your desire to preserve our habitat, without having to move to Alaska and homestead, although I reserve the right to do that later.

Don’t Rinse

This one is tough for people to wrap their mind around, only because we have been doing it this way for so long. Keep in mind the adage that 28 consistent days of anything builds a habit. For goodness sake, let the dishwasher do the job it was invented for. How often do we get wrapped up in the process and load dishes into the dishwasher that are spotless? Scrape and load. You will save up to 20 gallons of water on each load, not to mention the energy used for heating.

Be a Vegetarian on Mondays

This is a really good suggestion for two reasons. First of all the science: It takes 2,500 gallons of water for every pound of beef produced…YIKES and 55 square feet of land is cleared (deforested) for each burger that you eat. Secondly, you are going to love the way that eating veggie makes you feel, I guarantee it. After one month you may decide to add a day, then another, and then who knows, I might be asking you over for dinner one night.

Turn Off the Faucet When Brushing

I had a girlfriend once that told her young kids that every time you leave the water running when you brush, it makes a penguin cry. I thought this was a little harsh at first, but they never ran the water and now, long after the memory of her has faded, I still think about the penguins when my kids are brushing their teeth. If you cut the run, you will save 5 gallons of water a day! If everybody did it, we could conserve 1.5 billion gallons in the US alone daily! Stop making penguins cry you, heartless creature.

Buy Local

In order to make a change, we have to change ourselves. This should include going for that easy brand name item on the shelf every time you need something from bananas to car parts. Next time you are in big name grocery store, drive around back and look at the oil stains in the truck delivery pit. DISGUSTING! Now imagine all the exhaust and energy consumption to bring those products to the shelf. When possible, you should be walking and buying directly from the people that create the product. Check out farmers markets near you and do your weekly shopping there. You will feel wonderful making a difference.

Close Your Damper

We seldom think about the things we don’t see, so it helps to reimagine the truth. Leaving your damper open in the winter is like leaving a living room window open 24/7. No, the damper is not as large but heat rises and constantly looks for ways to escape. Your chimney flu is the highest point on your house, so plenty of opportunity to pour heat (money) out of your chimney. Close it!

 

So there you have it, 5 ways to begin your quest to a better and greener tomorrow. As you begin to harvest the good feelings associated with being positively proactive, research other ways to make a difference. Before you know it, you will be dancing at Earth Day celebrations and kissing your great grand babies!

The Environmental Impact of Our Friend the Crayon

 

Green Crayon

 

For most of us, the very first art gift that we were given was a crayon. As we begin to have little’s of our own, we celebrate the day that we get to present them with their own box of infinite possibilities and creation.

 

As time passes, and the children grow with every feverish picture, we become privy to the sad last little nub of the crayon that had an arguably illustrious career. Oh, the things that this tiny, non-useable nub, has created. Purple monsters, blue ducks, space adventures or sea voyages cut short by pirates flying the Jolly Roger. You have done well little nub, but your time is up and I must replace you. Or even sadder is the crayon just removed from the box that promptly breaks in that one mathematical junction that renders the two crayon halves cumbersome and challenging to use. This crayons life has ended before it has begun. Never will this crayon live up to the potential that it was intended for. Without much of a thought, we declare these crayons “unfit”, so into the bin with you both.

 

If the advances and progress that our environmentally aware public has made are to be true, we owe it to our planet as well as ourselves to stop and ask, “where do these used and broken creators of dreams go to?” Certainly we understand that the garbage bin is not a magical portal that will break down our crayons on a molecular level, thereby erasing their existence. As a matter of fact, their journey has just begun.

 

Traditional crayons are sticks of paraffin wax, which is a by-product of petroleum or crude oil. Paraffin wax, colored pigments, and often other byproducts, are combined to make crayons.

This wax is NOT biodegradable. It is true that in the right type of environmental factors, crayons can break down over time with the assistance of bacteria, but the number one factor necessary for this to happen over a double digit to multi-century process is exposure to air. Now, admittedly, I have never personally been buried in a landfill, but I am willing to bet that there is little to no air flow under the heaps of other garbage and earth. Therefore, the breakdown process for crayons can take 100’s of years. In addition, crayons mixed with by-products can cause low-carbon pollution.

More than 12 Million Crayons are made in the United States every day! Every 100 new crayons equal about 1 pound, which totals out to 120,000 pounds of being manufactured and distributed daily. Just for the record and to put more of a “WHAT” factor in place, that is 60 tons of petroleum-based paraffin wax that will eventually find their way to landfills. We estimate that roughly between 45,000 and 75,000 pounds of broken crayons are discarded in landfills throughout the country annually.

 

This is a travesty and should be taken into consideration, and most certainly one of the cornerstones that The Crayon Initiative was built on.

 

Let’s go back to our tiny little nub that has served us so well, but this time, let us realize that by throwing him or her into the bin for simple disposal is only the beginning of its life here on the planet. Wouldn’t that life be better served as a recycled form of their glory days and in the hands of a deserving child that can realize all the potential of sea and space voyages for a whole new block of time? Not only do we believe this, but also every child’s movie ever made about inanimate objects would agree.

 

After they are created, crayons sole purpose in life, is to bring imagination to life, and they are designed to do so for decades, certainly not live under a pile of other household trash for centuries.

 

So remember the next time it’s time to buy new crayons, we should take into consideration that we are merely renting them.