The Dixon Ticonderoga Renew Pencil (via Amazon) is a unique green office supply that is made of recycled old tires. With all of the green products out there, I thought it was a pretty original idea to make some pencils out of used tires.
Besides just the fact that making pencils from recycled tires is a cool idea, I just loved the way these all black pencils look too. I also like the contrast of the green and silver text against the black of the recycled tires. The body of the pencil has almost a waxy, not rubbery feeling to it when you hold it in your hand. According to the package (which is made from 100% recycled fiber – 35% of which is post-consumer) these pencils help to put a dent in the over 2 billion used tired that are currently filling US landfills. As with many green office supplies, it is not always easy to determine if the product is really a big part of the overall solution, or if it is really just kind of kicking the can down the road. Although these pencils do not eliminate the 2 billion tires sitting in landfills, they at least put them to use, and eliminate the need to hack down as many trees for their wood. Also, without really knowing the process behind how the tires are prepared and processed, it is hard to really definitively go along with or refute the green claim.
I’ve read some mixed reviews on this pencil, but I will tell you that I’ve found some of them to be a bit overly critical. Most of the complaints that I’ve read involve the ability to easily sharpen them, and the propensity to breaking. Personally I did not find either of these cases to be true. Sharpening the pencils did feel a little different, it was almost like running a crayon through a pencil sharpener, however it certainly was not a deal breaker on these pencils. The only other thing I did notice when sharpening them though was that you definitely get a “burnt tire” smell if you sniff the tip after you sharpen it. I did a decent amount of writing with these, and while the lead was not 100% perfect (and I’m terribly picky about pencils, I hate writing with them) it definitely did the job with no major issues. I did sort of a flex test as you can see in the picture above, and I am guessing that because of the rubber used to make the bodies, they have quite a bit of flexibility, although I did eventually get one to snap with some effort. Definitely no way a regular pencil would have held up this well if I was trying to bend it without breaking it. One critical warning called out on the back of the package of these recycled tire pencils is that you should not use them with an electronic pencil sharpener.
As I said before, writing with the Ticonderoga Renew pencils with recycled tires was fairly pleasant as far as pencils go. My personal issue with pencils is that they never give you a sharp, clean and consistent line, so excluding that, these wrote nicely. The line was dark enough for me, although they use a softer lead. In addition to the acceptable writing experience, I was actually impressed with how nice and clean the eraser worked. I didn’t get any noticeable amount of wear and tear on the paper, and there were no awful streaks or ghost marks left behind.
Overall, I found that these pencils made from recycled tires performed well (for a self-professed pencil hater) and if these pencils made from recycled tires really don’t contribute to other environmental issues, then I think that they are a pretty creative way to put some of those old tires to use and eliminate the need to cut down as many trees