How can I reuse or recycle … broken pencils?

PencilsAside from formal social functions, frogs and the general state of the world, I don’t get stressed out by many things these days. My work is pretty enjoyable and if my colleagues (the cats) annoy me, I can just stroke them to calm me back down again.

But one thing that still manages to really get my goat is pencils with broken leads.

I love writing in pencil and get bizarrely attached to them sometimes (I had one when I worked at the uni that I kept through two jobs and three office moves) but sharpen, sharpen, lead snaps, sharpen, sharpen, lead snaps, sharpen, sharpen, lead snaps – then I snap. Said pencil is thrown across the room, therefore shattering its lead even further and making it throughly redundant as a pencil.

But if you’ve been reading this site for a while, you’ll probably have guessed by now that I don’t like throwing stuff away. So as was sung about in that old sea shanty, what shall we do with the broken pencils, what shall we do with the broken pencils, what shall we do with the broken pencils, early in the morning?

(Photo by lusi)

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26 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle … broken pencils?”


  1. Emanla Eraton says:

    You can dump them in a compost pile. First, you have to remove the metal piece that holds the eraser, and the eraser itself, as these things don’t decompose. Just throw those away in the recycle bin. The wood can decompose, but the graphite, I’m not sure about. It is carbon, but not only carbon.

  2. dancing girl says:

    Kindling for a winter fire if you have enough. Should burn nicely.

  3. ivan says:

    hi,
    you will not have that problem if you use a recycle pencil !( i mean pencil that made with newspaper!).
    we had introduced this obon pencil in several countries and they are well accepted from school childrens and working adults. for more informations, check it out at http://www.obon.us or http://www.bigscream.blogspot.com

    • HuntingWabbits says:

      I’ve seen those. I had no idea they were paper until I sharpened them and saw that the shavings had writing on them.

  4. Penny says:

    I had the same problem with the lead snapping, until I got a new pencil sharpener. The old one had blunted and that was causing the lead to snap.
    But, this still doesn’t solve the problem of all he surplus pencils.

  5. pamphyila says:

    They used to have pencil holders which you could put on pencil stubs to use up the last pencil bit – maybe you could concoct one.

  6. Elouise says:

    I wonder if rodent-like pets (rats? hamsters?) would like to gnaw on a stump of pencil (minus the lead and eraser, obviously). Perhaps a pet-loving person could tell us if this might be a good use for old pencils.

  7. Pat says:

    i scrape the graphite on keys and use it to lubricate locks that are sticking. If you have pencils that have used-up erasers, you can wind a rubber band around the end and it works as an eraser.

    • Kacy says:

      Wow! That is a great solution for my students. They tend to erase a lot and the pop on erasers seem to disappear out of my classroom. I have a surplus of rubber bands though.

    • HuntingWabbits says:

      I heard that rubbing graphite pencil leads on stuck zippers will unstick them too.

  8. Mike says:

    How does one create value uing pencils ie social,financial or artistic way?

  9. courtney says:

    uh i would throw it away haha

  10. Andrea Brazil says:

    Fridge magnets?

  11. HuntingWabbits says:

    Higher quality pencils made with finer wood or graphite (like Ticonderoga or Papermate) break less often when you sharpen them. With cheaper pencils, it all depends on the quality and angle of the sharpener.

  12. Amber says:

    Here’s a neat idea. :)

  13. 00000000 says:

    these tips helped me so much I got a “A” ona test!

  14. Ben says:

    I got a idea, make a log cabin out of them

  15. Rosie says:

    I once saw a vase/pencil holder thing, that looked like it was a cup, with a whole bunch of pencils glued on around it, hiding the cup. Then you can use it to hold your ‘long enough’ pencils!!

  16. Vicki says:

    Instead of throwing away the little metal piece, give it to a little girl (age appropriate of course), as a “tin can” for use in her Barbie’s kitchen.

  17. Louise says:

    sometimes, when my pencils appear broken, if i sharpen them with the big hole of a double pencil sharpener, they tend to be fixed, i’m not sure if it’s the angle they’re sharpened at, or if it’s just coincidence that i’ve got to a peice that isn’t broken, but it’s about 90% of the time with me.

  18. e says:

    Thank you for all of these comments- im doing a c=science project on what to do to getrid of wasting old pencils-some of these comments have been very helpful

  19. Uzicrowbar says:

    My Mom in the late 1920 early 30′s had a lead holder. She would whittle off the wood from pencil stubs and put the remain lead in the holder and write. Not sure what it looked like or was called. She wishes she still had it as her sister gave it to her. Can you help me find more info?



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