French pen maker Bic is producing a new line of sustainable pencils made from polystyrene recycled from old refrigerators, according to Waste & Recycling News.
The polystyrene used to make the "Ecolution" pencils is recycled by Axion Polymers in the UK. In its finished form, the pencil can be sharpened in a typical pencil sharpener and is said to have the same feel as cedar-the wood generally used to make pencils.
Because cedar is such a slow-growing tree, it is not a sustainable material for such a short-lived consumer product, Axion director Keith Freegard said.
"Furthermore, the traditional manufacturing process to produce a graphite-leaded, wooden pencil is slow and involves high levels of wood waste," he said.
Axion said the polystyrene in a single refrigerator can be used to make about 640 pencils, saving 2,300 metric tons of carbond dioxide emissions in the process.
The recycler worked with Ineos Styrenics to develop the recycling process for Bic. Bic has yet to unveil the new product, which will be marketed to environmentally-conscious consumers.