Generally, wood is used in the creation of pencils. Because it is hard enough to hold the shape of the pencil. It is also soft enough to be sharpened or shaved. But, for that purpose, lots of trees get cut down. To overcome this problem, Vikash Khandelwal, a graduate student from Coimbatore, India have developed eco-friendly newspaper pencils. He developed this eco-friendly pencils to reduce the use of wood which is used in making pencils.
When Vikash heard about eco-friendly products, he decided to try his hand at creating products that would not harm the environment. So he created pencils made out of newspaper.
Vikash said, “Chinese pencils made from newsprint have been in the market for a long time and are doing well, even in India. The paper used for these pencils is newsprint paper, which is the main raw material for newspapers. These pencils have an attractive plastic covering, which entices children. Taking a cue from this, we, at Zebra Stationery Products, decided to try making pencils using only old newspapers. For more than two years we kept experimenting with various newspapers and different glues. Ultimately, we came up with the eco-friendly pencils.”
These eco-friendly pencils are 172 mm in length. Children of all ages can comfortably hold it due to its thickness. The glue used inside it gives a cushion effect to the lead. Thus, the lead does not break if the pencil is dropped. Additionally, the glue has an amazing waterproofing effect on the newsprint material. It also helps to ensure the paper does not get soggy even if it is left in water for more than six hours at a stretch.
Vikash and his team use a double sheet of newspaper to create two pencils. They cut newspaper sheet into the half, horizontally. After that, they placed lead sourced from china at one corner and has to be stuck manually. They used a roller machine which is used to tightly roll the paper around the lead and special glue is applied simultaneously and evenly inside all the layers.
The texture of the glued newspaper is such that a new sharpener can be used comfortably (for 5-6 pencils only), beyond which a little pressure has to be applied on the sharpener.
He said, “Working on this new project was indeed interesting and threw up many surprising facts. We have found that the quality of the paper of only two Tamil newspapers is good for making these pencils. We had to experiment with various glues, as they had to be chemical free but strong too. Since most children have the habit of putting their pencils into their mouths, we had to make sure that the glue was not toxic.”
“Most of the orders received were from other parts of the country and for some reason, they did not like the Tamil newsprint. To overcome this problem, a customized paper covering was put on the newspaper pencil. It consists of the logo and the information about the organization or the event the pencil was desired for,” he added.