How can I reuse or recycle … pencil sharpenings?

Pencil shavingsLast week, I wrote a bit of a rant about how much I hate it when pencil leads are broken (HATE) and asked what I could do with the formerly-useful pencils.

But I didn’t think about the resultant sharpenings.

If the pencil is wood, I guess they can be composted – right?

But what about previously-foam-cup pencils that can’t be composted?

I know it seems a really small thing and almost isn’t worth caring about, but any suggestions?

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46 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle … pencil sharpenings?”

  1. dancing girl says:

    If you had a pile you could use them as kindling in a wood fire or stove. I mean the wood pencils.

    • maneuver12 says:

      Great to see other people thinking about this. My fifth-grade students and I were wondering about recycling or reusing pencil shavings just last week. The volume we generate is actually quite large, given that our district educates thousands of students. We’d love to discover a good application for pencil shavings that would otherwise end up in a landfill. Anybody else have thoughts on this topic?

      • Mandy says:

        Did you find out any information on recycling pencil shavings?

      • marisa says:

        hi i am a 5th grader. and me and my friends were wondering what we could do with the pencil shavings we produce every day. Cuz we know that when we throw them away the just end up in a landfill and take up space on earth.

    • sarah says:

      your idea inspired me to use the shavings as a fire starter it works great :)

  2. Amanda Kerik says:

    You could grind them up and make very rudimentary paper.

    Mixed with wax they’re fire-starters.


    I wonder about the chemicals in the paint, however.

  3. Sack36 says:

    Find a pottery studio and give it to them. It’d make quite interesting raku.

  4. Heather says:

    I use the pencil shavings I accumulate in my compost, and in the garden for mulch.

  5. Peter says:

    Thanks for the ideas guys

  6. Alice says:

    A very long time ago I saw roses made from the shavings. I am not sure what was put on the shaving to make them durable, but they were very pretty.

  7. Anonymous says:

    For the artsy type:

    Get a glass table and a piece of glass the same size as the tabletop. Place the shavings on the table top, then place the glass sheet on top of the table. Voila!

  8. Katie says:

    I use them as Pot pouri, Just pore over them with old perfume or oils.

  9. Aneesha says:

    cud u tell me how pencil shavings can be useful in raku ware………….and plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ppl I’ve got this project in Environmentl Education where the topic is waste generated by class I and II students. I surveyed and found that most of it consists of pencil shavings I need u to suggest how I can take this project further

  10. Anonymous says:

    thanks for the ideas

  11. Teanah says:

    Or a business out of making jewelry out of it like this woman.

  12. kassy says:

    well…im doing a pretty important essay on pencil shavings. what are a few good sub-topics about pencil shavings. Oh, and im in grade 7, i dont think this essay is my grade level. What do you think. PLEASE??? any suggestions. Its due. Friday and today is wendsday…PLEASE< PLEASE< PLEASE!!!!

    • Delusion says:

      When I did weird essays like that I would pull the usual “to understand pencil shavings, we must first study the pencil” and then go into detail about the pencil and its history etc :P

      good luck on your essay

  13. Zulema says:

    i have always wanted to know if i can recycle or reuse in some way a pencil i have a box full of then i really want to help out our earth

  14. Polo says:

    Can i recycle pencil perings pppppplzzzzzz tel me i’v got it for homework so pleas help me:)plz:)

  15. Vicky says:

    Take a thick paper, make a photo phrame of it. Put a glue on it and slowelt place pencil sharpening on glued area making, flowers or anything you want! glue it on a vase or make a kind of sculpture-creative work.

  16. nald.eng'g student says:

    were planning to reclycle pencil shavings as a raw material for particleboard

  17. nishita says:

    pencil shavings are anyway used as a raw material for particle boards— atleast over here!

    otherwise in the context of recycling ive not found a better use of pencil shavings than in aesthetic sensibilities.. where actually the creative possibilities are endless! but i guess the amount of shavings generated aren’t at all proportional to incorporating in creative endeavors- the table top idea- pretty neat i did that with my study table & i have a fixed sharpener at the end of the table so whenever i need to sharpen i sharpen there & save up the shavings under the glass layer– love the effect!

  18. Bobbie says:

    I include them in the pet bedding. In this case my pets are chickens. lol!

  19. Savannah says:

    I was doing recycling in LA class, and I was sharpening my pencil. I wondered how I could recycle pencil shavings. I researched it, and came across this website. This website is awesome!

  20. patricia gibson says:

    You can create art! I’m a teacher and often we get the children to brush glue on to paper then create patterns with the shavings! Actually did the activity this afternoon!

  21. emily poyner says:

    collect a load, add pva to them, mould round a cup. leave to dry, pencil pot. VOILA!!!! :D

  22. Singer1124 says:

    When I was in 4th grade my 4H group collected pencil shavings and made them into something else that we could use around the school. Unfortunately I forget what it was, can anyone think of something along those lines?

  23. Perhaps you could donate them to campers or the boy scouts….they can be used as kindling for starting fires. I donated mine to a nature center who had an outdoor fire building class.

  24. ayesa ghale says:

    you could take the sharpings and glue like a circle in piece of paper. When you have done 3 circle, make leaves and stem and you have 3 flowers!!!!!!

  25. Harriet Carter says:

    Me and my friend want to start a business by using pencil sharpenings as compost.
    We also did an experiment that if you use Magnesium Sulphate in sand, your plants grow better.
    Why not try mixing pencil shavings, Magnesium Sulphate and sand to make a compost.
    Just an idea.

  26. pu ssya ssh ole says:

    thx guys ur nic

  27. fu says:


  28. kajal says:

    Yes not bad

  29. kajal says:

    🍿chilll guys

  30. Sebastian says:

    I’ve also wondering how to re-use / recycle pencil sharpeners that have lost its sharpness. One option is to make a palette knife with its blade and popsicle sticks, but that’s just for one sharpener. I know I could get a grip on many from my collagues and from schools.

  31. Chris Grey says:

    So, let’s recap….there’s art, which is always fun. Potpourri with added fragrances, always useful. There’s a machine that can turn them into erasers….very, very neat, and they can also be recycled into particle board. I also read somewhere that you can use them to keep moths away if you put them in a little tea bag-like pouch, although I haven’t tested that one. Last, but not least, kindling or tinder. My suggestion for kindling would be to mix the shavings with a little petroleum jelly, enough to get them to stick together, then roll it into a ball or some other shape. I would suggest wrapping it for storage, say in a survival kit, but it will light easily even with flint and steel….[[|:-)’

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