A Danish company wants people to say goodbye to throwing away pencil stubs by using their plantable pencils.
Sprout World’s pencils have a biodegradable capsule filled with peat and seeds in place of erasers. Planting the pencil stub produces flowered plants, vegetable plants, or herbs, depending on which of the 14 varieties you’ve chosen.
The pencils, made from cedar grown in Pine City, Minnesota, are available with seeds that grow: sunflower, basil, cilantro, mint, lavender, sage, thyme, cherry tomato, green pepper, calendula, marigold, or forget-me-not plants.
“There are 15 billion pencils made annually, and three million of those just in the United States. That’s a lot of pencil stubs thrown away,” Michael Stausholm, CEO of Sprout World, told CNNMoney.
The pencils were developed in 2012 by three MIT students. Strausholm first saw their pencils on Kickstarter and asked to partner with them because it perfectly illustrated sustainability as a “dying product is literally giving life to a new product.”
The pencils were an immediate hit for then-startup Sprout World, who sold 70,000 pencils in the spring of 2013. The students later sold the assets, trademarks, patents and IP rights to Strausholm.
A million pencils were sold by Sprout World in Europe by 2014. On average, the company, based in Taastrup, Denmark, sells 450,000 pencils a month and has made over $3 million in revenue.
Strasholm hopes his company’s pencils also become a bestseller in the United States, where he has opened an office in Boston.
“America is a couple of years behind Europe in terms of embracing eco-friendliness,” he said.
The pencils come in packs of eight that cost $19.95 on Amazon and at Whole Foods stores. It’s also available in the company’s webstore.
Stausholm says he wants to make the pencils cheaper so that students everywhere can use them. His company has also unveiled plantable colored pencils and greeting cards.
“We know we can’t save the planet just with our products,” said Stausholm. “Our mission is to at least educate people on how to be more conscious in what they buy and look for products that are reusable.”