I received these brightly colored recycled pencils to review from the nice folks over at O’BON, who make a ton of nice green office supplies that are earth friendly, fun, and nicely designed. The version I am reviewing today are the Rainbow Series pack of 10 2B pencils.
At first glance, these O’BON recycled pencils don’t look or feel much different from your ordinary yellow pencil, but as you can see from the photo above, the composition of the bodies of the pencils are quite different. You can see that instead of wood, there are individual sheets of newspaper that are rolled up around the lead. You can actually even see the different shades and colors of ink printed on the paper if you look close enough, which is a good sign because obviously it doesn’t appear that they are bleaching or doing anything to use extra chemicals on the paper.
The benefits of using newspaper for the bodies of these pencils go beyond just saving trees, it’s also important to note that the processing of the paper instead of wood uses less energy and resources, plus it produces much less waste. The only waste left over from the process of creating these pencils is some extra particles of newspaper, which O’BON actually uses to make mulch used in the landscaping surrounding their factory….pretty cool.
Beyond just looking cool and saving resources in the manufacturing process, these pencils are also a bit more sturdy. With normal wood pencils, if/when you drop them the impact is not absorbed as well as that of the newspaper pencils. The wood and lead can sometimes split with a normal pencil, but because of the softer and more cushioned properties of the newspaper, there is less of a chance that the lead will break inside the body, and shorten its useful life.
One thing that I was really curious to find out about when I got these, was what it was like to sharpen them. In the photo above you can see how the base of the pencil shows the different layers of newspaper, and better yet, the shavings that you see there are just newspaper and you can really see it when you unravel it. Just my own personal suggestion here, but you could even follow in the footsteps of the folks at O’BON and use any of your pencil shavings for compost or mulch so you really make sure not to waste anything.
When it gets down to actually writing with these recycled pencils, they preform quite well. After sharpening them, one thing I was a little worried about was how the section above the lead point would feel. I thought it might have a feathery or frayed feeling to it if you ran your fingers up against the grain, but surprisingly its quite smooth and there is no edge or roughness to it. Writing with them was quite smooth, as mentioned in the past I’m not a big pencil person, but these definitely write as well as any other standard pencil I’ve used before.
Overall I’m really impressed with these pencils because, they don’t show any sub-par qualities that you sometimes find with green office supplies, and they clearly have the added bonus of being environmentally friendly. At about $4 for 10 pencils, these are a great option for those of us who like to try to be environmentally friendly with the things they purchase and use on a daily basis. Also, one heads up for everyone who is interested in green office supplies, that link there consolidates all of the environmentally friendly office supplies I’ve reviewed, so it will make it easier for you to find them all in the future.