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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Smart Stuff with Twig Walkingstick: Dude, What's with the (Recycled) Pencils? (for the Week of Sept. 21, 2008)

September 19, 2008

Q. Dear Twig: I know something else they make pencils out of. It isn't plastic, either. It's paper!


A. Excellent! You're right. There are companies that make pencils out of recycled paper. (The part of the pencil you hold, that is. Not the graphite.) Some of that paper is recycled newsprint — newspaper paper. Some of that paper is recycled money — worn-out bills (dollar bills, etc.) that the government took out of circulation (collected to keep people from using anymore) and shredded. There are pencils made out of sawdust, scrap cardboard and blue-jean scraps, too.

Whatever the case (The pencil case! Ba ha ha ha ha ha heeeeeeee!), a strong glue holds it all together so it looks and is shaped like a normal wood pencil. Making new pencils from thrown-away stuff puts trash to good use and saves trees.

Did you know you can make pencils out of twigs? Twigs from trees, that is, not me. You cut them, drill them, and fill them with graphite. I'd find that a bit uncomfortable.



P.S. Q. Why did the elephant use a recycled-paper pencil? A. His pen broke. Heeeeeeeeeeeeeee!


Recycled-paper pencils include the TreeSmart Newspaper pencil, Paper Mate makes the Earthwrite pencil ( from reclaimed scrap wood.

Makers of really nice twig pencils include John Wyant of Minnesota, (crayons, too!), and Roger Plant of England,

About This:

"Smart Stuff with Twig Walkingstick," published by The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences — specifically, by the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) and Ohio State University Extension, the research and outreach arms, respectively, of the College — is a weekly feature for children about science, nature, farming and the environment. It's written at, to and for a 4th-grade reading level.

For details, to ask Twig a question, and/or to receive the column free by mail or e-mail, contact Kurt Knebusch, CommTech, OSU/OARDC,1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, OH 44691,, (330) 263-3776.

Kurt Knebusch