Japanese company creates crayons made from vegetables

Yvonne O'Halloran

Japanese company Mizuiro is bringing a more sustainable alternative to traditional crayons. Vegetable Crayons are not only plant-based and eco-friendly, but they are also created from food waste.

Mizuiro’s founder Naoko Kimura came up with the idea for Vegetable Crayons after leaving her job as a designer to be at home with her child. After looking at what traditional crayons are made of, she realized this was not a safe option for children: “Whenever children take an interest in something, they put it in their mouth. So why do crayons, something so close to most children, not seem all that safe?”

Today, most crayons are made with paraffin wax, containing petroleum, making them unsafe for children. Petroleum is a toxic chemical, and, if a child accidentally eats a crayon, they could be in serious danger.

Kimura dedicated her time to creating a safer, plant-based option. Vegetable Crayons are made from discards from her area’s plant agriculture industry. They start with a solid wax created from rice bran and liquid rice bran oil, which are byproducts of the rice-polishing process.

Then, to get color, Mizuiro uses discarded vegetables. This includes apple skins, irregular pieces of sweet potato, irregular pieces of corn, and more. Instead of becoming food waste, these items are crushed into vegetable powder to add some color. When additional color is needed, Mizuiro turns to food coloring that is certified as safe food additives, although with less than one third of the pigment found in traditional crayons. The colors are even named after the foods used to make them, opting for names like cabbage and carrot instead of green and orange.

Article written by Tessa Altman- United States

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